The Field Team Blog

How to Speed Up Field Technician Troubleshooting Skills

October 23, 2020

Effective troubleshooting for maintenance technicians and other field service technicians can be the greatest lever for improving your career and the morale and financial health of your field service team. Happy techs in the field handling any issues thrown at them equals a happy field services team.

How can you speed up your and your team's troubleshooting skills?

In this post:

  • Greatest Opportunity For Field Service Productivity
  • What Kind of Troubleshooters Does Your Team Have?
  • What Field Techs Can Do To Speed Up Troubleshooting Skills
  • What Field Service Leaders Can Do To Speed Up Team Troubleshooting Skills

Let's go!

The Greatest Opportunity For Field Service Productivity

Whether you are a technician in the field or you are a leader, manager or supervisor of techs in the field, you want your jobs in the field to be done well, done safely and done efficiently. Get it done well and get home.

And everything is great when jobs go to plan, just like the standard operating procedures or workflow processes describe.

But when they don't go to plan? When you have to troubleshoot unforeseen issues? Ah, that's where things get tricky.

Field service teams know that their greatest productivity usually comes when techs in the field have the knowledge to troubleshoot problems quickly and safely. If field techs don't have the knowledge they need, jobs stretch on longer than anticipated and more opportunities arise for things to go wrong -- with the assets as well as for people's safety.

What Kind of Field Tech Troubleshooters Does You Have on Your Team?

What kind of troubleshooters do you have on your field service team? Check out the video below where Neal Gyngard had some fun with different types of field tech troubleshooters.

While Neal comes from wind energy operations and maintenance teams (an ex-wind tech, ex-wind O&M manager and current Tower Climbing Grease Monkey owner), the troubleshooter types can apply to many different industries and organizations.

The Part Swapper

Rather than diagnosing the real problem, this troubleshooter replaces a bunch of parts, hoping one will be the fix.

Over-analyzer

This troubleshooter does more research than work on the asset.

"Call Before You Try" Guy or Gal

Getting help from others is great . Essential even. But this troubleshooter would rather call up others before doing any initial diagnosing or troubleshooting himself.

Info Hoarder

This troubleshooter keeps all his or her knowledge to himself or herself. S/he doesn't want to help anyone else out.

Know It All (Who Doesn’t Know It All)

This troubleshooter finds it hard to ask questions of others.

The Level 5000 Guru

This is the troubleshooter with the knowledge to quickly and safely diagnose the problem, fix the issue and get on to the next job. This is the troubleshooter most field techs want to be and most leaders wish they had more of.

What Field Techs Can Do To Speed Up Troubleshooting Skills

How to get to that Level-5000 Guru status faster?

What can field techs do to speed up their knowledge to become better troubleshooters? In the video, Neal shares some lessons learned that helped him move quickly from being a green field tech to a guru, lead tech troubleshooter.

Be Curious. Always Learning

Always be learning.

Be Humble. Ask Questions.

Keep learning, even when you have a lot of knowledge. There's always more to learn.

Strive To Make Your Job Easier

Being more knowledgable = faster, better, safer troubleshooter = going home to your family sooner. True when you are more knowledgeable. True when your whole team is more knowledgeable.

Feel Great Helping Teammates Get Better

And when you have gained knowledge, share it with others. It helps both you and your team.

What Field Service Leaders Can Do To Speed Up Team Troubleshooting Skills

The above are some things field techs can do to get better, faster. What about for field service leaders, managers, supervisors and owners? What can they do to help speed up troubleshooting knowledge among technicians? How do you help your team get to level-5000 guru status?

Create A Culture of Continually Improving Knowledge

Start with the goal: more team knowledge. And make decisions based on that goal.

Let Field Service Techs Help Others Level Up

There's so much knowledge in the heads of everyone on your team. Much more than any list of standard operating procedure or troubleshooting procedure documents can contain. There's so more more knowledge in the heads of techs than troubleshooting skills training can try to teach ahead of time. Let your team help others be great at their jobs.

Capture & Share More Field Tech Knowledge Before They Move On

Don't lose all that valuable knowledge that was earned from years of experience when the field tech moves on to a new company.

Use Field Service Collaboration & Communication Tools

Give your field service team mobile tools that integrate into their everyday work that capture and communicate knowledge with the team.

Try the Tulli field service collaboration app free. to help your team make video calls that help teammates see what they see, take and share field notes and more.

Summary

You may be a field tech or a field services leader. You may be confronted with maintenance troubleshooting, preventive maintenance or other types of unplanned incidents. When you and your team focus on continually improving team knowledge, everyone benefits. How well you and your team do this may be the single most important improvements for your career and your company's health.