The success of any business — be it in field service or not — rests upon staff performance. You can have the finest vehicles, machinery and equipment, but if staff performance is low, business growth and performance will naturally be stunted.
KPIs were introduced as one of the many ways for employers to outline employee expectations — and they undoubtedly work. Just like a job description lays out what the role entails, KPIs are individual to employees and clearly iron out the specifics expected of them.
Field service KPIs are of critical importance; given the sector’s strong customer service focus, performance matters. Having the right KPIs in place for your field service engineers is crucial, yet surprisingly so many businesses are lacking the performance objectives required to drive staff and ultimately business success.
With this in mind, what is missing from your field service KPIs? In this blog post, I answer this key question that all businesses should be asking themselves.
Missing: The link to your business goals
It seems like the most obvious link, yet many businesses fail to set KPIs that tie in with their overall aims. Essentially, this places their field service engineers on very different paths, making it harder for businesses to meet their overall goals. A divide is created that can lead to staff frustrations — potentially having a huge impact on overall customer service and retention rates.
No KPI should be created simply for the sake of having KPIs. It should have a clear link with your overall business goals. It’s often easier to work backwards: ask yourself what your business wants to achieve, whether that’s a 95% customer satisfaction, a target repair time or a best in class first-time fix rate, then establish the results your staff will need to deliver to meet these goals.
Of course, there is only so much you can ask of your staff. Setting unrealistic goals for your field service business will have a knock-on effect on the KPIs you set staff. Essentially, you risk asking too much from them and the additional pressure can crush morale and ultimately result in a disengaged team. It’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure your expectations are in-line with reality.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Consider spreading larger business plans across a longer timeframe.
Missing: Comparability between data
Employees may have multiple KPIs to work towards, providing a common difficulty: how do you compare different metrics? For example, if one employee has a high customer satisfaction score compared to another’s low financial cost, how can you be confident who is better performing?
The difficulty stems from the difference in metrics. It’s very hard to compare finance metrics with non-finance metrics. Therefore, in order to fully understand an employee’s performance, it’s important to examine the full performance picture. Yes, you may not be able to make a direct comparison between the two, but you will be able to spot areas of strengths and weaknesses.
Where weaknesses are present, employers can invest in training to improve staff skills and effectively bridge the gap between KPIs and overall business performance.
Missing: The next steps
KPIs are not just a driver of employee performance; they should also drive a follow-up action. KPIs need to be integrated into your business. If there are no consequences for under-performance, how can you ever expect your staff and business to develop? Likewise, failing to adjust your employee KPIs as your business develops can hold future development back.
Too often, KPIs are reviewed once a year at best. If you’re to truly develop your business, KPIs need to be an intrinsic part of how your business operates. You should be actively using KPIs in line with employee performance to establish how you can continue to improve the results. It’s not enough to simply capture the performance data; you need to establish what you will do with it.
For example, if customer satisfaction scores are slipping, what will you do about it? Will you even gain visibility until 12 months later? Outline a clear action plan in advance of a scenario occurring. Returning to our previous customer service example, if this occurred, how would your business react? If you struggled to answer, it’s clearly time to start rethinking the role KPIs are currently playing within your business.
It’s clear that setting KPIs for your business isn’t as simple as drafting up some industry jargon that sounds good, but doesn’t drive the results you require. Rather, the KPIs you set should be carefully considered. Ask yourself the following:
- What do you want the KPIs to measure? Clearly consider the most important aspects of employee performance and create relevant, attainable KPIs around these.
- Who are you targeting? There is no one-size-fits-all for KPIs. As roles and responsibilities change, so do expectations. Ensure each KPI you create is in-line with role expectations.
- What are your overall business goals? Each KPI needs to work towards a common goal: progressing your business and employee success. If the existing KPIs don’t, it’s time to review.
We regularly discuss field service KPIs on our blog, you might be interested our recent post: 5 critical KPIs for monitoring field service engineer performance.