Office staff and field technicians who work well together are an important part of a successful business.
Ask any coach and they will tell you how hard it can be to build a good team. That same thought applies when you are thinking about your “office team” and your “technician team.” Those teams are the backbone of any business, especially yours. And as you probably know, they can help your business thrive or they can be the source of epic failure.
After many years in the portable restroom business I have seen many occurrences of a divide between the office staff and the service technicians. The office staff is angry when service technicians are late for deliveries or miss services because that increases the number of upset customers calling in. Service technicians are frustrated when customer service gives them bad addresses or mistakes on orders that cause them extra work.
When you can get your service technicians and your customer service employees to work together, you have truly hired a winning team. But how do you do that? Careful selection when hiring, listening to employee feedback and giving employees time to get to know each other.
When new people are hired at Whole Foods Market, they are placed on a 90-day probationary trial. After 90 days, a team of their peers decides whether they keep the job or are let go. That means that even the most diligent workers still have to be team players. I am not suggesting that you allow your service technicians to decide who you hire and fire but employee feedback is valuable and should be given consideration.
When we hire new salespeople or customer service employees, they are required to spend half a day on a route truck with a driver. Until you have spent five or six hours in a service truck, in the heat, pumping toilets, you really have no idea how hard that job can be. This time together also allows new employees to learn all of the equipment and services we provide. They also learn the importance of error-free orders.
On the flipside, it is important for your service technicians and delivery drivers to know how important customer feedback can be and how hard it is to get a sale. Taking the time to explain that yes, traffic may have caused them to be late with that delivery, but the delivery happened to be for a large event planner who has another big event that we were hoping to land. They don’t always see or know about the bigger picture. A large sale can take hours to land and can be lost with the smallest mistake.
Summer barbecues, Christmas parties and volunteering are a wonderful way for both sides of the business to spend time together. It is important that employees have time together or you can never truly build your team.
The office staff and your technicians and yard workers don’t naturally spend a lot of time together. So it is up to you to make sure those two worlds mesh together well. I like to remind people that a salesperson can sell 100 toilets, but without a delivery driver and a service technician, that sale means nothing. When everyone works together, that is when your business will truly succeed.
About the Author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.