By Donald B. Stephens

Technical Services has seen more than its share of changes in the past decade. We have seen new processes in everything from the parts in our vehicles to the way we approach our service calls each day. To say this has been a challenge is an understatement.

Don Stephens is a senior customer service engineer in his 30th year with Xerox. When he isn’t repairing high-volume printers, Don is a blogger, an author and a freelance writer.

Don Stephens is a senior customer service engineer in his 30th year with Xerox. When he isn’t repairing high-volume printers, Don is a blogger, an author and a freelance writer.

Technicians are resistant to change, but not for the reasons you might think. Here are three reasons why I believe that field service reps react to change less than favorably at times.

  1. We are creatures of habit.

In order to be successful in field service, we must develop good work habits. We are on our own 99 percent of the time, and the temptation to goof off weeds out those who can’t work on their own in the first year. New processes mean changing tried and true habits that we have come to rely on. Sometimes it can be like reinventing the wheel by adding square edges – or at least it feels that way.

  1. We are a practical lot.

We want to see the corporation succeed, we really do, but when we hear, “this is the direction the company is heading – period” we tend to bristle and dig in our heels. Because A leads to B, which in turn leads to C in our minds, we need to be given the whole picture. Most of the time this is provided, but occasionally we are left to scratch our heads and wonder where we are headed as a company. (Oh – and we rarely have time to sort through our email for the one that has explained it in great detail. If our manager hasn’t gone over it, then we are still dragging our feet.)

  1. We are suspicious of change.

I was told by a team member my first week on the job that, “if you don’t like something about the company, then wait six months – it will be gone by then.” Most of the service force has 20-plus years. Having seen many programs come and go, (some of which only lasted a brief time – for good reasons) we are understandably hesitant when “the next big revolution” comes along. We sit back and watch to see if it is going to be a flash in the pan or something that is here to stay. When we are satisfied that the change is permanent, we jump on board and try to enjoy the ride. Occasionally our skeptical side rears up with a new process and we dig in our heels; even if it makes perfect sense and is good for the company and our jobs.

You might have to pull on the reins a bit. But please pull gently – we are a sensitive lot too.

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