How to Become a Field Service Manager (With Duties and FAQs)
Updated March 31, 2023
Field service managers, or field managers, ensure that a company's employees perform their duties effectively at different work sites. If you're interested in pursuing a career in the technical field and have leadership competencies, you might consider working as a field manager. Learning about their duties, job requirements, and skills can help you decide if the profession suits you. In this article, we define a field manager, explain what they do, outline steps to become one, and answer FAQs about the role.
What is a field service manager?
A field service manager evaluates the performance and activities of employees, such as contractors and technicians, who work on sites or at customers' homes. They oversee the daily operations of a company's services and coordinate tasks at work sites. However, their responsibilities encompass more than job site coordination, including devising new ways to render client services and improving existing processes. This typically involves developing training programs, implementing innovative procedures, or researching effective technologies to streamline delivery services.
Companies can improve and monitor their services with the help of field managers, as they also ensure employees implement stated agreements and use appropriate tools. Field managers work in various industries, including the non-profit sector, emergency medical services, construction, and internet technology. They hire employees, train them to adhere to protocols and policies, and direct field operations.
What does a field manager do?
A field manager's responsibilities vary according to specialty and sector, but they typically involve evaluating employees to ensure they achieve set goals. They assign territories, ensure adequate resource allocation, travel to different sites to evaluate employees, and write reports detailing their strengths and improvement areas. They submit the compiled reports to human resources. The following is a list of their other responsibilities:
meeting with clients to understand their needs and implementing programs to achieve set goals
guiding employees on repairs, installations, and maintenance
managing schedules and timecards for field employees and interacting with clients to ensure prompt work completion
assigning responsibilities to head technicians to promote adequate operation flow
evaluating field operations to identify areas for improvement
assigning and overseeing employees' activities
ensuring operations, processes, and procedures adhere to standards
assisting in the planning, development, and implementation of training programs for employees
responding to customers' requests and complaints quickly
signing and reviewing productivity reports for internal crews
maintaining first aid kits and ensuring they are within reach
documenting work procedures and processes using computer-based service reporting techniques
How to become a field manager
Here are some strategies to help you pursue a career as a field service manager:
1. Get an education
Employers typically expect candidates applying for field manager roles to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. You may major in business management, administration, or any other management-related subject. Such courses cover business law and ethics, human resources, and accounting and typically equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in the field and develop your managerial competencies. Focus on developing industry-specific skills during your studies to gain relevant field knowledge.
2. Gain experience
While completing your undergraduate studies, consider participating in an internship program to gain experience in the field. These programs provide practical training and can help you apply your managerial and business knowledge to solve real-life problems. Add these experiences to your resume when searching for jobs to make your application more impressive and increase your chances of employment.
3. Choose a specialty in the field
Choosing a specialty is often necessary to work as a field manager. For instance, you might decide to work in the IT sector or focus on medical services. Research the available specialties and choose the one that resonates most with your career goals. This can help you develop your skills and grow in your desired area.
4. Earn relevant certifications
While they're not mandatory, earning relevant certifications can improve your employment opportunities. Try pursuing industry-specific or other project management, process improvement, or business administration credentials and find ones that align with your career goals. Including them on your resume may impress a hiring manager.
5. Start in an entry-level position
Begin your career by taking entry-level positions, such as field engineer or lower-ranked supervisory roles, and advancing to a field manager position. In each role, it may take one to three years to move to the next one, but entry-level positions can help you obtain industry-specific training and knowledge necessary for a field manager job.
6. Earn a postgraduate degree
As a field manager role is a managerial position, employers may require candidates to have a postgraduate degree in a relevant field. While not all companies and industries ask for this, you can advance your career by pursuing further education. Doing so can also increase your earning potential.
FAQs about field managers
The following are answers to frequently asked questions about being a field manager to help you make an informed career choice:
What are a field manager's skills?
Field managers typically possess an extensive skill set that helps them perform their duties efficiently, including:
Field managers interact with employees, suppliers, and clients, so they typically possess practical communication skills to convey their ideas, opinions, and feedback to foster a productive work environment. They also use these skills when drafting reports to ensure they include comprehensible details that others can understand. Effective communication also includes active listening, enabling managers to understand clients' expectations.
Field managers hold supervisory positions in different work sites and possess leadership skills that enable them to monitor and evaluate employees' performance and help them develop. They achieve this by identifying employees' strengths and possible improvement areas, organizing training sessions, and offering advice to help them develop skills. Leadership skills also include delegation, which can help managers assign tasks according to each employee's capabilities.
Field managers typically monitor the activities at different sites simultaneously, and time management skills help them prioritize their tasks and ensure productivity. These skills allow field managers to maintain schedules and ensure efficient operations at different work sites. They apply them when conducting employee training sessions, scheduling appointments, and visiting various work sites.
With problem-solving skills, field managers can identify issues within a work site, develop practical solutions, and implement them. As their responsibilities include resolving customers' complaints and scheduling technicians, they apply their skills to find answers to challenges. Their problem-solving ability can improve customer satisfaction rates, reduce costs, and increase workplace productivity.
Field managers are typically experts in a company's products and services. They apply their technical knowledge to resolve customer complaints and answer service call inquiries. These managers also understand the processes, technology, and tools technicians use on a work site. With this knowledge, identifying areas that require improvement and providing feedback is often more manageable.
What is the work environment of a field manager?
Field managers typically work in offices but may also travel to work sites. To meet customer demands, they may work long hours, including evenings and weekends, and are generally on call to respond to customers' inquiries and emergencies and address their needs.
What is the career path of a field manager?
Field managers generally start their careers as field service technicians or engineers. With practical training and experience, they can become lead field service technicians, field service supervisors, or senior field service technicians. Employers may promote candidates who show managerial competencies to field managers. A field manager may also transition to marketing or sales positions.
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