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The Service industry faces significant challenges, such as workforce shortages and increasing prices. According to Aquant’s 2023 Service Intelligence Benchmark Report, those factors, combined with current economic conditions, have driven up service costs by 7%.
Those price increases are partly due to supply chain issues and parts challenges. But workforce skills and knowledge gaps also play a critical role in rising costs.
Companies need to pay attention more than ever: this year’s data showed that lower performers cost organizations 67% more than top performers. More-tenured technicians are retiring faster than their Millenial and Gen-Z replacements can enter the workforce. The pressure is on service organizations to not only quickly upskill less-experienced workers, but also retain them. It’s easier said than done, especially when a dramatic generational shift is at play.
Did you know? If everyone had the knowledge and skills to perform like the top 20% of the workforce, service costs would be reduced by 21%.
With an empowered workforce, you can ensure employee loyalty and provide excellent customer service to existing clients — mainly because your team will feel confident, competent, and capable of producing stellar results.
To quickly upskill existing workers, hire and train incoming workers, and retain both groups, shift your focus to the following:
- Hiring motivated candidates with potential — and providing them with the necessary technical training. First, look for employees with traits that will make them successful within your company and with your customers. Then train those employees on service specifics. Set up mentorship programs, develop accessible training courses, and adopt technology that transfers knowledge. The right resources will equip talented candidates with the knowledge needed to deliver exceptional service. A bonus: employees are more likely to remain with your company if they feel their work makes a difference.
- Paying attention to soft skills training. A brand is only as strong as its ambassadors. Employees out in the field, directly interacting with customers, offer the first in-person contact with clients. The goal is always to be memorable by demonstrating strong interpersonal skills, showing an innate understanding of the problem, and providing a quick and accurate solution to the issue. To improve the customer experience, organizations should incorporate soft-skills best practices into mentoring programs and create formal training that focuses on developing specific soft skills. This includes problem-solving, communication, flexibility, and decision-making.
- Offering on-demand access to knowledge for faster (and more accurate!) service. Gen-Z and Millennial employees see technology as a career stepping stone. Offer tools, like Service Intelligence, that extend real-time access to critical service information. Ensure dispatch diagnoses the problem correctly during the initial customer complaint call, and provide the technician with all the relevant information before they arrive at the job site. This will help your technicians solve equipment failures on the first visit and reduce parts shotgunning — instead of making quick, short-term fixes that address symptoms but not the root cause of the problem.
Service organizations can’t control inflation or ever-changing workforces, but they can stabilize certain areas of their business — like their workforce’s performance. Even companies with higher-than-normal levels of turnover can survive changes and maintain excellent customer satisfaction, especially when they have the right processes and tools to upskill incoming workers quickly.
Customers, teams, and organizations win when every workforce member is empowered to perform as well as its longest-tenured employees. Get a demo of Aquant and learn how to measure your org’s performance, track your progress, and improve your metrics over time.