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5 Practical Tips To Grow Your Field Service Career

A female technician in a field service career uses her technical expertise to do preventative maintenance on a piece of equipment
Technical skills like how to do preventative maintenance can help you advance your field service career in many industries. [Adobe Stock/BESTIMAGE]

How do you build the skills to advance your career in a changing industry? We asked three Trailblazers in field service to weigh in. Here’s what they said.

Working in field service is both rewarding and challenging. You get to interact with customers and solve their problems. You also have the honor of being the face of your company. In fact, you may be the only person from your employer that a customer ever sees. While you may find your current work to be fulfilling, it’s worth taking time to consider how you’ll prepare for growth throughout your field service career.

The good news is that field service is a dynamic industry, which means new opportunities will continuously arise. Our research found that 86% of decision makers at organizations with field service say it’s critical to scaling their business. 

We asked three Serviceblazers to provide their top field service career tips for a fulfilling and rewarding Service Career Path as the industry evolves and technologies emerge. Here’s what they said.

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Set up to grow your field service career

Whether you’ve just started in field service or have worked in it for many years, one thing is true — you must take steps to expand your skill set and knowledge if you want to advance in your career. But your professional growth can’t happen overnight or without the right approach. Here are five practical tips to help you advance in your field service career.

Prioritize customer experience

You know a field service career is right for you when you enjoy the hands-on technical work and critical thinking it takes to solve problems for customers. But field service calls for more than just the technical know-how to fix a customer’s issue, install equipment, or keep machinery in optimal working condition. You also need to have excellent communication skills, listen actively to customer concerns, and empathize with their needs. 

“The best advice I can give is to consistently put yourself in the mindset of the customer, try to see the interaction from their perspective,” said David Quine, chief technology officer at Vinebrook Homes. “A positive interaction that includes a smile, a friendly gesture, kind words – all go a long way and in the long run will make you and your organization shine.”

Prioritizing customer experience and then seeking feedback about your work will provide constructive input that can help you (and your business) improve. (Back to top)

Develop technical expertise

Technical skills like how to do preventative maintenance and diagnose equipment errors are important in field service. There are many ways to boost your know-how in field service. Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, is a great way to expand your expertise in areas like Visual Remote Assistant. When you become the go-to person on your team for solving complex technical issues, you’ll boost your confidence and become more valuable to employers and customers. 

As your career grows, you may choose to become an expert in the field service management solution your team uses to manage appointments and dispatch field service technicians. You may also want to become an expert in the latest developments in artificial intelligence (AI) for service. Companies need people who understand these technologies and how to use them. Consider earning relevant certifications to demonstrate your commitment to professional development, like the Salesforce Administrator, Service Cloud Consultant, or Field Service Consultant credential

Marisa Lioi, Salesforce Service Cloud lead at Fisher & Paykel Appliances, worked as a dispatcher for many years before overseeing global implementation of Service Cloud across her company. Now, her Salesforce technical knowledge enables her to deliver excellent customer experiences. 

“When you create processes or automations and applications and then you see that go live — for example, using field service to book a service appointment on your website — you go ‘I’m proud because I did that,’” said Lioi.  

“When people come back to you and say, ‘Loved the service, your technicians were fabulous, really helpful and great,’ it’s something that you can feel proud of.” (Back to top)

Embrace continuous learning

Formal training opportunities are fantastic, but they are not the only way to build your expertise. You can learn more about developments in field service by reading knowledge base articles on timely topics like asset service management or generative AI. Gain insights from field service leaders on strategies and trends in Salesforce’s free webinars, like 3 Strategies to Reinvent Field Service Delivery or Trusted AI and Data in Field Service.

You can also expand your knowledge every day by simply adopting a curiosity mindset. For example, perhaps you notice certain repetitive issues that slow you down on job sites. Share your insights with leadership and when you see opportunities, propose solutions. 

“Study what would make your daily interactions have less friction and make yourself — and your teammates — more efficient,” said Quine.

Part of learning is understanding the bigger picture of the work you do every day – and how it contributes to the company’s goals. Be sure you understand your team’s key performance indicators (KPIs). If these KPIs aren’t regularly shared with you, ask your manager if they could be. A willingness to learn and adapt not only keeps you relevant, but also positions you as a valuable asset to your organization. (Back to top)

Demonstrate leadership qualities

Leadership skills are essential for career advancement. Stretch assignments are a great way to gain experience in new areas of expertise and show initiative. For example, help drive revenue for your company by upselling or cross-selling after a successful field service appointment. Coach junior colleagues or volunteer to lead projects outside of your regular responsibilities to highlight your leadership potential. 

Greg Banks, engagement manager at Cirrius Solutions, Inc., worked as a field service technician in the wood preservation industry for many years. His career path included many rewarding experiences, among them participating in disaster relief. He helped restore operations at a facility that generates telephone poles which are extremely critical after hurricanes and tornadoes. 

But Banks also experienced frustrations, like showing up at a job site and lacking information about that customer’s problem – which led to inefficient visits and frustrated customers. So Banks volunteered his time to help his company adopt a customer relationship management (CRM) software to improve these issues. Eventually, he was asked to oversee implementation of Salesforce Service Cloud for his entire company. Today, Banks is a consultant in the software industry, helping companies think through their Salesforce field service strategy.

“The things that I learned in [field service] are transferable,” Banks said. “It’s not just about learning to turn a wrench or terminate a wire without electrocuting yourself. The skills and the nature of communication that I had to develop to do that job – without knowing you’re building a really good useful skill set that will transfer into a lot of different options later in your career when you don’t want to work out in the field all day.” Also remember that in field service, customer focus is a leadership quality – it’s something to prioritize at every level of your career. (Back to top)

Build a strong professional network

Networking is a powerful tool for career growth. Connect with others in field service through conferences, like Field Service USA and Dreamforce. Join the Salesforce Service Trailblazer Community to engage with other field service pros, share experiences, and stay updated on industry trends. You never know how your professional network may open up opportunities for new roles or provide different ways to approach your career goals.

Seek out a mentor – either someone further along in their career path at your company, or someone you meet outside your organization like in the Serviceblazer Community. Schedule time to meet regularly — either in-person or virtually. (Suggestion: connect once a month for 60 minutes). This relationship should be a safe space to discuss challenges you may be experiencing in your career, as well as to identify areas you could pursue to build new skills.

Remember: when you prioritize ways to grow your field service career  you prioritize your future. By following these five tips, you set yourself up to meet your career goals. (Back to top)

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Sophia Le-Dimitrova Director, Product Marketing

Sophia Le-Dimitrova is a Director of Product Marketing at Salesforce. She focuses on helping organizations deliver exceptional customer experiences at scale through Service Cloud solutions such as AI-powered automation, Customer Service Incident Management, and Slack swarming.

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