Field Notes: 3 Reasons Field Visits Are A Fundamental Part Of Our Services
If you worked with SUCCESS a decade ago, you’d find a staff manned with Jacks-and-Jills of all trades, teams of technicians where “everyone did everything,” according to Director of Managed Services Teri Schneider.
While having such a well-rounded workforce might seem like a slam-dunk value proposition on the surface, it began to create capacity issues, and the SUCCESS team reassessed this tactic.
“We identified that that’s not the best way to serve our customers, because then you’re always begging and borrowing from other teams with competing priorities,” Schneider explains.
The solution? SUCCESS developed a system of regular, proactive field visits and built them into their customers’ overall managed service plans.
So, what is a field visit?
While the anatomy of a field visits varies depending on a customer’s size, industry, and needs, the basic thrust is that the same dedicated technician from SUCCESS works with the customer onsite for a half or full day at regular, planned intervals.
“During the onboarding process with a new customer, I work with an account executive to understand the business a little bit more. What’s the technology landscape? What market are they in? Are they for-profit? A non-profit? In construction? Where are their locations? A lot of it drills down to who the customer is,” Schneider says.
While tech needs may vary from customer to customer, having the same point-person in place closes gaps in knowledge and communication, and sets the stage for a more proactive, strategic approach to technology use.
“It’s not just about technology,” Schneider says. “There’s a connection happening there that I don’t see happening with customers who don’t have a field visit.”
Below, we offer three more reasons you should be including regular field visits into your technology plan rotation.
1. Proactive solutions instead of reactionary fixes
While unexpected repairs and necessary quick fixes are to be expected, they’re a reactionary measure. With a field visit, SUCCESS technicians are able to gauge the tempo of a business’s day-to-day operations and get a much more holistic sense of the technology landscape, offering proactive, strategic solutions that to issues that not might be obvious.
“When somebody calls in, many times it’s ‘Let’s fix that thing,’ and the customer’s like, ‘okay we’re good!’ Whereas with a field visit there’s a broader landscape to open the conversation around technology,” Schneider says. “Like ‘Okay, I fixed it, but hey in our reporting it shows that we have some machines that aren’t patched.’ That’s not something a customer would know just by nature.”
2. Your field tech absorbs your company’s culture
“There’s a lot of teams at SUCCESS and a lot of people to talk to, but if you have that point person it feels better than sending an email off to someone you’ve never met before,” Schneider says. “I’ve had technicians know when our customers’ kids are graduating, or attend retirement parties. They become a part of our customers’ workplace culture, too. That really solidifies the importance of that connection.”
Additionally, the average tenure of a SUCCESS field tech is higher than the industry average, adding an extra layer of historical knowledge that can be leveraged to better serve your business. In fact, some of SUCCESS’s customers have even used a field tech to augment their team for an extended period of time, further deepening that connection.
3. Face-to-face interaction offers greater opportunity for education, strategy
There are some things you just can’t see over the phone—like a server room set to a steamy 85 degrees in August, a recipe for hardware failure. That’s an instance where having a field tech on site for IRL face-time can offset the need for reactionary fixes down the road.
“If we weren’t there on a regular basis, we wouldn’t have a good feel for that unless the customer brought it to our attention,” Schneider says.
Frequently, SUCCESS’s field technicians are able to review a customer’s tickets, take a step back, and relay what they’re finding in a way that provides a strategic framework for moving a company’s business forward. Is there something coming down the pipeline that will require a new tech purchase in six months? A workaround short-term solution that can stave off a new budget line until the next fiscal year? Having a regular field visit and a dedicated field tech really fills the gaps in any businesses tech strategy.
“With a face-to-face field visit, there’s education and planning and interpretation that sometimes you don’t get with a person on a phone call,” Schneider says.