Tips for managing field service workers during the coronavirus pandemic

April 15, 2020
Amanda Del Buono interviews ServiceMax's Stacey Epstein

While many are able to work from home during the current pandemic, field service workers by nature don't have this option. In this special edition episode, Amanda Del Buono is joined by Stacey Epstein, chief marketing officer and customer experience officer at ServiceMax, to discuss how organizations and individuals can stay safe while keeping essential equipment up and running.

Visit the new Field Service Job Finder from ServiceMax and Krios at

Below is an excerpt from the interview. Read the full transcript here. 

Amanda: Right, right. Well, in previous episodes of this podcast, we talk about workforce development a lot and the key to workforce development is communication. But it seems to me that, at this moment, communication has got to be more important than ever. What advice do you have about keeping the communication flowing between the service workers or the field workers and their management or whomever? What advice do you have for them to be constantly in communication or improving their communication? Or are there different things that they need to be communicating about that maybe they weren't before or they don't usually?

Stacey: Yeah. And we at ServiceMax have a piece of our solution called Zinc, which facilitates communication and really helps get real-time knowledge to workers that are in the field. And it's been quite successful for us, but there have been many times over the course of the last few years when our buyer says, "Yeah, it looks really good, but, you know, it's just not mission-critical in terms of what we're looking at today." And that has just...another thing that has taken a drastic turnaround is that everyone's not in offices where they have access to people and information that they need. So, not only do you have your field service workers out in the field, but you also have the people who have the expertise and knowledge to help them. You have them just in their homes, but you can't prevent that communication from happening because that's how problems get solved, questions get answered and the work continues to happen. So, giving those technicians a way to get to the real-time information they need has become just mission-critical.

Again, communication's not a nice-to-have anymore, it's an absolute imperative for these field service workers, especially as the whole industry is shifting to focus on the current need, which is healthcare. So, again, those non-essential items, I mean, they're not being purchased, they're not being installed, and so, you have workforces that are shifting to do something that they haven't done before. So, if I've changed my manufacturing facility to produce ventilators or whatever it is that I've now shifted my focus, I've got a whole workforce of field service engineers or technicians that aren't necessarily trained or up to speed on how to do that. So, we're asking a lot more of our field service teams and we absolutely need to be giving them the ability to reach out when they have a question to send a message to a hotline and have a one-on-one text conversation or even do a live video, which you can do in Zinc.

I mean, certainly, you could also do it in something like FaceTime, but with Zinc, you know it's secure and you can get them to the right expert. With FaceTime, you don't really even know, "Who do I call," right? But if you use a hotline and you can know that you're getting to the right expert, you can do a quick video call and say, "Hey, I'm trying to install this. I've never done it before. Am I doing this right?" And they can get help in real-time. Then that system can be live and experience full uptime in ways that it just wouldn't have happened if you didn't have that line of communication. So, I think what, again, what we all thought of as, "Yeah, you know, communication's important. But what's more important is that I'm tracking parts and that I'm scheduling my technicians properly," and now it's come to, "Hey, if I can't communicate with my field service team, I'm maybe not able to even get the job done." So, it's just become absolutely critical.

Amanda: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and at least people are seeing that and hopefully acting on it and maybe instituting different technologies or methods to do that like you had mentioned.

Stacey: Yeah. Exactly.

Read the full transcript.

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