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Avoid Callbacks With A Checklist

1 Nov, 2001 By: Jim Intravia imageSource

Avoid Callbacks With A Checklist

can you avoid callbacks? Technical expertise is important, but it is not the
biggest factor. Technical expertise is a result of, I suppose, intelligence,
experience and training. There are some people who are lacking in one or more of
these areas, maybe even all three! The best way to avoid callbacks is to be
careful, thorough, and conscientious. These are personality traits. They may
develop through experience or they may come naturally.


is not meant to be a psychology lecture, but lets face it, a good part of job
performance in any field or industry, is how the work is approached and handled.
Success in technology is not based completely on the technology. If you are a
self-employed technician, then you are your own judge and jury on your
callbacks. If the amount you have seems appropriate to you, then you don’t
have to change. Since most business owners (speaking first hand here) tend to be
a bit egomaniacal, or at least egotistic, you may decide that five callbacks a
week is absolutely perfect, because you are perfect. Of course, you may disagree
with me on what constitutes a callback. If you are a service manager or dealer
principal, you may view this situation differently.


are the person who has to suffer through your employee's callbacks. You may feel
that you are unable to do anything about it. You may feel that a particular
technician is incapable of improving their expertise: The technician does not
seem to learn new things, does not learn from mistakes and does not seem to get
any better at their job as time goes by.


More Likely Case:
Perhaps you are
a salesperson who does not have the ability to train, evaluate, or adequately
supervise technicians. You hire a seemingly qualified person and hope for the
best, or you may have a technician who has many strengths, but needs improving
in this particular area (callbacks).


Case, Somewhere In Between:
are a service manager supervising a number of technicians. One or more of your
techs have more callbacks than you feel are appropriate. When you were working
as a technician, you feel that you had far fewer callbacks. Why can't these guys
accomplish the same? You may be overlooking something. You are a better
technician than they are. That is why you are the service manager. If you accept
this scenario, what do you do about it? No doubt, you do not like having to
soothe irritated customers or having to go out on machines that weren't fixed
right the first time. A service manager's
job is to try to minimize all the work that he or she has to do, by increasing
productivity and efficiency.
Don’t worry about job security. It will
always be there. As you solve one set of problems, new ones arise. Our industry
is not static.


managers are usually (ok, always) overworked. They are always “putting out
fires.” Consequently, they often do not get to teach their technicians how to
be as good a technician as they themselves were. That statement is silly, of
course. Nevertheless, they often do not have the time or patience to get their
technicians to avoid callbacks.


we are assuming lots of negatives, lets pretend that this technician has only a
few positive traits. He can read. Also, his electro-mechanical skills and
customer relation skills are adequate. However, he cannot think creatively (IE:
It would never occur to him to switch the transfer corona with the charge corona
to troubleshoot a problem, not that you can do that very often, but he would not
think of it, period!) He can do what he is told, and if he is taught how to do
something, he can do it, but he does not have the ability to figure it out the
first time. When completing a service call, without any guidance, he might not
think to test the other cassette, to run the machine in manual exposure, to
notice the accordion jam papers in the garbage can. If the copies are light and
the customer doesn’t say anything, it won't occur to him to ask. If he finds a
screw laying in the bottom of the machine, he won't look up to wonder where it
came from. However, if you told him to, he would. If you told him to check copy
quality, he would, and he would fix it if it were wrong. This type of
technician, if left alone, is likely to have lots of callbacks, but can
frequently grow into a very productive employee, if properly supervised.


have seen technicians, as well as other workers, who fit the above description.
In many cases, they have been excellent employees. However, they need direction
and/or guidance. As long as their work is spelled out for them, they do very


way to maximize your technician's skills is to provide them with a checklist. As
a “supertech,” you probably didn’t use a checklist because, for you, it
was instinctive. As you looked at feed tires, you mentally evaluated the
condition of them, and of the clutch and cassette. As you approached the fuser
unit, you observed its condition and decided if it was time to rebuild it,
rather than waiting for it to cause problems. 


non-super tech doesn’t have these instincts. You are not likely to call him at
every service call to tell him what to do (although “debriefing” is quite
useful in some situations). If you are not a technician yourself, you might not
even be able to tell him what to do, if it were practical.



you are a service manager or any other type of supervisor, you can improve on
the callback situation with a checklist. This will require some amount of work
(not all that much) to create. The checklist can be highly technical and
specific, or it can be general. You may wish to make it for a particular model,
or it can be “one size fits all.”


years ago, I was a service manager for a company with a field population of
identical high volume machines. Due to servicing problems, I made up such a
checklist for my group of 7 technicians. It was 4 pages long and initially
resulted in lots of complaining, which was followed by a dramatic decrease in
callbacks within about one month (these machines usually were serviced 2-6 times
per month).


checklist, once instituted, is easy to use. At first, it appears very tedious
and it is time consuming. However, there is not much that is as painful to a
service department as a callback. If eight 20 minute rushed service calls per
day become five 40 minute thorough service calls per day, and eliminate 2
callbacks a day, that is progress. As time goes by, there will be many less
obvious callbacks that are eliminated. The obvious callback is the one that
happens the day after. The service call
that does not happen one month later is just as important as the one that does
happen tomorrow.

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