Fleet Managers: Create Friendly Competition for Your Field Techs

Posted by Stacey Papp

Competition can be the spice of life for some people, no matter the cost. If you’ve ever watched Joey Chestnut wolf down dozens of hot dogs in just a few minutes or know someone who does Tough Mudder or other crazy obstacles-course type races, then you’ve experienced firsthand just how insanely competitive people can be.

People can get competitive even when the acclaim they win might be somewhat dubious. Think about restaurants that hold competitions to eat several pounds of food within a specified time period. A lot of times, all those winners get is their picture on the wall and their meal for free – and, one would assume, a massive stomachache (they really ought to give the winners a week’s supply of Pepto-Bismol).

But competiveness isn’t a streak that runs through all of us naturally – some people require more motivation. In the workplace, the dual benefits of not being fired and collecting a paycheck are supposed to instill some semblance of motivation in people … but when your field techs are doing the bare minimum of effort to make money without getting the pink slip, how can you rev up that competitive streak?

Well, why does Joey Chestnut eat 70 hot dogs? He has an incentive: fame and fortune (plus all those tasty hot dogs).

So here are some tips you can use to provide an incentive program for your field techs to make filling job orders a friendly competition:

First, you have to have the right approach: you want to improve their performance, but you don’t want to give them unreasonable goals. You want to get them filling more job orders, or filling them more efficiently, but you don’t want to reward them for work they should already be doing based on their job description. So design your program with the idea that anything that deserves a reward should be over and above the standards you expect from field techs, but also that the goal shouldn’t be so unattainable that your field techs don’t even bother trying.

Next, you need a way to measure performance. The key word here is “measure” – it shouldn’t be a subjective thing, because that can create mutters about favoritism if the same tech wins consistently, making for an unfriendly competition. Use data – cold, hard facts. You might consider measurables like most positive comment cards filled out, highest reduction in idling, safest driving, or most emergency orders filled in a certain time period.

Of course, while you definitely should reward for hard numbers, you should also consider rewarding for effort, too – if a field tech is making an obvious push to do a better job overall, that might merit some of whatever you’re using as an incentive (cash bonus, coffee cards, lunch, etc.). And always tell anyone who is doing a good job that they are – sometimes that can be incentive in and of itself.

And don’t forget: quality over quantity. The goals you set for your team should align with the overall business goals of the organization, because you want to make sure you are rewarding people for good work, not just fast work. The same high standards of customer service and satisfaction should still apply – so don’t design a program that encourages your field techs to whip through work faster to hit a certain number. 

So if you follow these suggestions and design a program based on measurable data, the next question is, how do you measure it?

Simple: fleet management software.

With near real-time fleet monitoring, you have a way to track fuel usage (and any decrease), idling time (and any decrease), safe (and unsafe) driving, time of arrival and departure to a job – basically, everything you might want to reward (or chastise) your field techs about in an incentive program. You can even run reports to see their historical data, including whether their arrival and departure times matched up with what was promised to the customer, helping you ensure the company is giving great customer service.

And, hey, by the way, all of this data works for more than just incentive programs – it also gives you better overall visibility into the company, lets you track costs and keeps vehicles secure. 

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Interested in learning more? Check out how our mobile apps can help you create a little friendly competition.