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Millennials in field service – are you ready?

Back at the end of 2014, Business Insider published a report on millennials – the generation that comes after Generation X – and it made quite the impact. Such an impact, in fact, that now, nearly 6 months after publication, people are still talking about it. And guess what? So am I.

I’ll admit it, I have an outside interest – I am one. But I’m also here to tell you that although their sometimes negative perception can seem to be at odds with field service, millennials can be just as at home in FSM as they can in any other industry, even ones that seem a whole lot more glamorous.

Let’s see. In general terms, you’ll generally hear the following about millennials. They love tech, immediacy and transparency. They crave social interaction, aren’t so keen on question-less authority, and have the attention span of a gnat. Servicemax sums it all up nicely in their great infographic.

Servicemax Millennials

Let’s face it – field service companies don’t have the same all-singing, all-dancing reputation as businesses that make video games or some cool product that everybody wants. Enterprises with field service components are usually more associated with HVAC, maintenance management and telecoms companies. That said, if you can manage to entice them to your company, I think you’ll find you’ve made the right decision. No, really! Let me show you why millennials are perfect for field service:

Tech natives

Millennials are completely, 100% at home with technology, and would often prefer to take the tech route than a more old-fashioned approach, especially if they believe it will save effort or time. This is a double blessing – not only are they likely to show huge appreciation for the tech advances your company makes, whether something simple and sensible like an automated FSM system (hello Synchroteam!) or something cool and new fangled, like wearables and BYOD. Likewise, no matter what new tech you introduce into your company, they’re quite likely to be the ones helping you roll it out.

So where’s that double advantage I was talking about? They’re totally at home with the idea of IOT, or the internet of things. Many of your clients will deal in high-tech services, so if your field service tech is freaked out by the idea of your mobile phone talking to your refrigerator, well, it doesn’t create the best impression. Save your tech-savviest millennials for your most high-tech clients.

Social interaction

The very concept of field service involves getting out there in “the field”, talking to contacts and acting as ambassadors for your company. Use a great tool to make sure your technicians are completely up to date with the latest info, and send the chattiest millennials out there to schmooze with the younger, hipper companies on your client list.

Immediacy

This is a huge one for millennials. The modern world moves quickly, and that’s the way the millennials like it. Make sure they’re not waiting around for more information and data by using tools that incorporate real-time information, two-way communication and GPS, and they’ll feel right at home.

Variety

That’s the polite term for ‘attention span of a gnat’. Of course, I’m being facetious, and not all millennials are alike, but by and large, they expect more variety in an average workday than workers of yore. This is perfect for field service, where every day presents a new challenge or unexpected problem. It’s the kind of variety that will keep millennials fresh and ready for whatever the day might involve. A happy workforce makes for excellent customer service, so you’ll see the rewards.

Do you have many millennials in your field service team? Think what I say is true, or are millennials sadly lacking in the FSM arena?

Header image thanks to Elizabeth Hahn

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