Typically, introducing a new field service management solution requires a comprehensive strategy for change management.
Dispatchers and technicians are used to working in a certain way and it’s not always easy to change their habits. Some service companies still work on paper so they have a long way to go in terms of adapting behaviors. Other companies are using software they’ve developed in-house or a premises-based solution they bought years ago and haven’t updated since.
Even when the field service management solution is presented as a way to simplify service management, increase productivity and improve efficiency for dispatchers and technicians, changing the way people work requires a detailed plan and a real commitment to change.
Here are a few tips to help your teams make the transition.
Clearly demonstrate the value
Change management within an organization has a lot in common with the traditional sales process. Management must sell the field service management solution internally and win the support of as many people as possible.
It’s not enough to simply say “starting on this date, you will use this new solution” or “don’t worry, it’s really good software, you’ll like it, and it will make your life easier”. Instead, you must clearly demonstrate the concrete value of the solution to each internal team:
Dispatchers must be convinced they will save considerable time when planning and monitoring service calls.
Technicians must be convinced the solution is easy to use and will help them execute their tasks and yes, make their lives easier.
Start with your most influential employees
As a first step toward convincing your teams of the solution value, start with the most influential people in your organization. These are the people whose personality naturally influences the way others see things. And they may not be your team leaders. But, it’s very important that these influential employees are included if you create an internal team to evaluate the solution.
Talk to your teams about their concerns and their requirements. Put yourself in their position. Then respond to each point they make by explaining how the software will help them complete their daily tasks.
Once you’ve done that, train your teams to use the software and let them try it out for a few weeks. The opportunity to play around and experiment with the mobile app and the scheduling software will likely make your technicians and dispatchers your best ambassadors for change within your organization.
Your team members are not necessarily influenced by what their boss thinks. However, if colleagues who are doing the same job they are see the benefits of the new solution, the impact and persuasion effects are multiplied.
Involve employees in decisions
Involve members of each of your teams — managers, dispatchers, technicians — as soon as you begin the process to select a new field service management software solution. Take the same approach when defining requirements and testing potential solutions.
Ensure that each person involved has a voice and feels comfortable sharing their feedback on the different solutions being evaluated and on the solution configuration when the selected solution is being deployed.
You’ll gain some very interesting insights from your employees based on their experience in the field. And involving them will have a positive effect on the rest of your team members. Knowing their trusted and experienced peers are actively engaged in the selection process and deployment decisions will reassure all of your employees that you have their best interests at heart.
Prepare employees for change well in advance
Nobody wants to have to work in new ways with no warning. Employees need visibility into how the business works, and they must be advised well in advance if changes that directly affect them will be implemented in the short- or medium-term.
Internal communication is key to prepare your team members for change. Tell employees that you’re looking for a new field service management solution even before you start the process. Explain the reasons a new solution is needed and the capabilities it must enable. Talk about the decision at all internal staff meetings, even if that means setting up video conferences with remote employees.
Once a solution is selected, make sure the vendor is involved in your internal communications and evangelizing with employees. This allows employees to connect with the vendor directly to get answers to their questions and concerns.
Deploy the solution in stages
Deploying field service management software is an important project for service companies. The software will become the backbone of your business and a major contributor to productivity and growth.
Start by creating a pilot project team that includes your influential employees and other motivated team members who want to participate in the project.
Communicate positive feedback from the pilot project team, in formal meetings and casually, at the coffee station, for example. It’s important to convey the messages that the software works well and provides concrete results to all teams involved. Spreading this positive message about the change that’s underway in the company will help to increase employee acceptance in a natural way.
Finally, remember that deploying a new field service management solution is not a top-down process. Just because management decides it’s a good solution doesn’t mean it will be accepted by dispatchers, technicians, and other employees. Ensuring acceptance and adoption is a group effort and the result of good internal communications that help everyone feel involved in the process.