Fixing Weak Links: How To Promote Accountability In Your Service Team
Have you ever struggled trusting a member of your service team to get the job done? It isn’t uncommon to find a lack of accountability among service technicians, yet there isn’t a clear cut way to fix it. Instead we mislabel the problem as something that is easier to deal with; the tech is lazy, useless, or a slacker.
The point is, the blame is almost always placed on the individual when they may not have been properly held accountable. Not enforcing accountability can slow down productivity and over time will lead to technicians majorly neglecting their duties.
Accountability is the ability of a service technician to meet expectations and perform responsibilities that impact the service department. For the role of service technician this includes; meeting customer expectations, managing work orders, and completing jobs in an appropriate amount of time.
Having your team adopt accountability is not something that can be forced. Instead you must build a work environment in which being accountable is valued. Let’s look at some possible steps that you can take to promote accountability in your service team.
Have Clear Expectations
People on a service team can struggle with accountability for a number of reasons including;
- Processes being vague, giving them too much freedom in the way they work
- The chain of command is unclear, they are getting conflicting directions from multiple managers
- Objectives are not passed down, the team knows what to do but they don’t know why they’re doing it
It is important to remove these sources of confusion and replace them with clear expectations that the team can use to model what it means to be accountable.
Set SMART goals
SMART is an acronym popularly used as a guideline for career development plans but also applies well to outlining accountability for service teams.
Put Your Team First
Companies are often heavily focused on putting the customers first. This seems like a good argument at first glance, until you consider that the people making the argument aren’t the same people who are directly dealing with the customers.
As a manager, putting your team members first and the customer second shows confidence in the abilities of your team. Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, stated his philosophy on putting the customer second in an interview saying; “ if the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they're doing, if you give them the tools to do a good job, then they're gonna be smiling, they're gonna be happy and therefore the customer will have a nice experience.”
When your team feels valued and take pride in their work they will become more accountable. A great way for you to influence this adoption of accountability within your service department is to deliver constructive praise. By giving positive feedback with a touch of guidance results in team members feeling they’re learning and growing at their jobs, leading to increased confidence and competence.
As we mentioned, implementing accountability standards into a service team isn’t something you can do overnight. By putting your team first, setting clear expectations, and developing SMART goals your team will be adopt their new responsibilities over time and before you know it will become a more independent and reliable workforce.
The point of accountability is not to give up control to your team, but to develop a working balance. The final outcome should be that you have build trust with the members of your service team and can that they feel in control and responsible for their professional performance.