Creating clear, concise service procedures is the first step toward driving consistent service technician performance. After all, how can we expect techs to consistently perform at high levels if we don’t document best practices?
Most of you have taken many steps towards good practices in procedures. I thought I’d share a new level of practice I’m seeing that can take Field Tech productivity and consistency to the next level, while helping tier 2 and tier 3 support excel at driving rapid resolution of complex problems.
Most complex equipment manufacturers produce comprehensive service manuals with very detailed procedures. Our assessments usually find the content is excellent, but the format – typically lengthy, printed documents or paginated PDFs – doesn’t meet the needs of field service technicians. They are forced to sort through and read long documents to find the actual answer. Today’s procedures can NOT be documents.
Accessing information at the task level (within a procedure) is critical. After initial training, Field Techs rarely need to re-read a whole procedure. Questions arise at step 5 or 15 or 25. In fact, is often also true that triage may uncover that a Field Tech should skip to step 15. But, if a procedure is a whole document, with information on pictures, you can’t find the content to present the simple few paragraphs. Procedures that develop each task/step as a component open new levels of productivity by enabling more direct answers to questions in real time. They also enable higher re-use of procedural documents.
Why about Detailed Topic or Issue?
Market leaders in service are transforming the way they tag documents. Early versions of tech pubs and bulletins allow for a few basic indexing terms at the document level. Again, the trouble with this approach is that good technical documents have many important pieces of information imbedded inside. By tagging document s at a more detailed level, we further open up the possibility of finding precise answers to questions. Published at that level, specific information about a singular task or issue can be found and presented, eliminating the need for field techs to research, read and learn in front of the customer. This also speeds up Tier 2 and Tier 3 support.
Where do I start?
The best way to start is to do a little Pareto analysis on the ticket data. Find the products and instances that present the greatest variances in mean time to repair and first time fix rates. Variability is always a hint.
READ: How to Increase Field Service Performance by Reducing Variability for a discussion about why variability is a more powerful lever than targeting the absolute reduction in mean time to repair.
In any case, analyze areas of variability and find the tasks and issues that contribute the most. Here’s where we start. Create more detailed separate components around these areas, and you’ll begin the process of component content that drives value. You can sort the impact, carve off a meaningful chunk of change that fits within a 90 day window and move your organization forward to a higher point of value.
Now is the time to transform. How can you drive six sigma service performance when you’re using publishing tools from the 1990s?
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