“Generation Y” is the term we use for those born between 1980 and 2000. This generation has been entering the labor market for a number of years now, and technician roles are no exception.
If you read the newspapers, this generation has a bad reputation. They’re considered to be very demanding of employers, wanting their work to have meaning. They’re also considered difficult to manage, putting high priority on work-life balance and low priority on corporate loyalty, ready to jump to the highest bidding employer without looking back.
While these characterizations are not necessarily incorrect, Generation Y also has good qualities, and can be real accelerators of innovation. Global companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon count many Generation Y people among their employees, and they’ve been very successful.
In the service world, Generation Y is dramatically transforming the way things are done. Their expertise, sensibilities, skills and appetite for new technologies are now well established.
Here’s what you can expect.
Adopt new digital technologies
Too often, the service world has not been a leader in adopting new technologies. However, while that’s historically been the case, it’s no longer true today. And that’s primarily due to the arrival of this new generation of technicians.
Generation Y wants to use the latest IT tools so they can accomplish their tasks with maximum efficiency and simplicity. This pushes service companies to deploy new technologies. The trend has been particularly evident in the last 5 or 6 years as service companies have adopted field service management software, smartphones, tablets and business apps for mobile devices. These advances have been really beneficial for the service world because they enable service companies to deliver higher quality of service to their customers.
Deploying new technologies helps businesses improve overall productivity and efficiency, gain insight into business operations and make more informed, data-driven business decisions. But, to realize these benefits, all employees must fully adopt new tools.
One of the key ways to encourage full adoption of new technologies and tools is to have Generation Y employees train colleagues in their use. Generation Y employees are often the first to use new tools, and they can demonstrate the concrete benefits of using the tools with their older, sometimes reluctant colleagues. The concept is called “reverse mentoring”. It’s a managerial technique where older and younger employees are combined on the same team so they can learn from one another. Older employees help the younger generation learn how to do the job, and the younger generation helps older employees take advantage of new digital tools.
Transitioning to digital operations is mandatory if you want to:
Eliminate duplicate data entries between the field and the office
Receive real-time status information about service call progress
Schedule service calls in a much more intelligent way
Ensure field technicians have all of the information and parts necessary for success on the first customer visit
Improve customer relationships
While Generation Y is fully versed in new technologies, it’s also a generation that’s searching for meaning in their professional life and that attaches great importance to human contact.
Human contact is an essential element for service companies, especially if you consider the fact that in most cases, the only physical contact between customers and service companies occurs through service technicians. As a result, technicians play the role of company ambassador when they’re at customer sites, even if they’re not conscious of the fact. Technicians are on the front line of the company, which is why it’s so great to have technicians who have an active interest in being that key point of contact between the company and the customer.
A mobile business app gives your field technicians all of the elements needed to ensure maximum customers satisfaction, including electronic forms, pre-filled service reports, and spare parts availability information. When these aspects of the job are fast and easy, technicians can spend more time developing customer relationships and bringing more meaning to their job.
Improve quality of service
Make no mistake about it, Generation Y is young, but very professional. This is a generation that’s far more demanding of itself than the generations that preceded it. Maybe that’s why this generation is typically the largest and most effective group of candidates you can find on the market today.
Generation Y was born and raised in a fast-paced world where competition is tough. They understand they have to be the best in their field to progress professionally. As a result, if you satisfy their appetite for new technologies, their quest for meaning in their professional life, and their desire to quickly evolve, your company can achieve a very high level of excellence in the field.
To realize these benefits, you must give your Generation Y employees adequate guidance while still allowing them enough leeway to make their own mark and achieve success, especially with customers. The youth in Generation Y will bring new ideas and practices to your business. Don’t oppose it. Instead, remain open and receptive to their suggestions. With this approach, your company is sure to gain a very important competitive edge in the world of field service.