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Avoid Increased Call Backs in Service and Repair

16 Jul, 2008 By: Editorial Staff imageSource

Avoid Increased Call Backs in Service and Repair

Ok. When it comes to field service, a first priority is to ask yourself, “How
can I best avoid a lot of call backs?”  Yes, competent technician expertise is a
priority to help avoid returning to a job, but it is not the only factor. One of
the best ways to avoid call backs is to be thorough, organized and conscientious
the first time on a job. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

Success in technology is not based completely on the technology itself. If
you happen to be a freelance/self-employed technician, then you are your own
judge and jury on your call backs. If the amount you have seems appropriate to
you, then you don’t seek much change. As most business owners set their own
agenda, they may decide that five call backs a week is absolutely perfect. If
you are a service manager or dealer principal, you may view either situation
differently. Managing field service personnel requires an entire different set
of skills than managing in-house employees. Effectively supervising field reps
usually requires the techs to "buy into" whatever  management requests. Just
telling employees who predominantly work away from the office to do something a
certain way usually doesn’t work. Once an employee is out of sight, management
edicts can be quickly forgotten.

Therefore, field personnel must believe in the worth of any recommended
changes. One of the best ways to get techs to “buy into an idea” is to make the
ideas seem to come from the techs themselves, or together through collaboration.
It is often much easier to get a tech to follow their own ideas than to follow
management’s “new set of rules.” It’s vital to remember that in this down-turned
economy that we are currently experiencing, each employee realizes their work
habits do have a direct effect on their worth as an employee. Each tech or
employee must be responsible for generating more profits as a result of their
work than their employment costs the company. Some technicians may need
direction and/or guidance. So develop a useable checklist.

Create a Checklist

One way to maximize a technician's skills is to provide them with a
checklist. If you’re a “super tech,” you may have or not need another checklist
because, for you, it is mainly instinctive. As you look at feed tires, you
mentally evaluate the condition of them, and of the clutch and cassette. As you
approach a fuser unit, you observe its condition and decide if it is time to
rebuild it, rather than waiting for it to cause real problems.     The
“non-super tech” doesn’t have all these instincts. Management is also unlikely
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 suggest
the best options of what to do. So it is time to “make that checklist.”

If you are a service manager or any other type of supervisor, you can improve
on the call back situation by actually listing what should be on the checklist.
This will require a small amount of work. Depending on the company, a checklist
can be highly technical and specific, or it can become a general “check off”
list to ensure that certain follow up efforts were made. You may wish to make a
list for particular duties, or per manufacturers’ models, or it can be a “one
size fits all” list.

As an example offered, consider this: A service manager for a company with a
field population of identical high volume machines made up a checklist for a
group of 7 technicians. It was (sigh) 3 pages long and initially resulted in
lots of complaining. However, what followed was a dramatic decrease in call
backs within about one month! These machines usually were serviced 2-6 times per
month. Even a shorter, concise list will be effective as it is likely to
increase your tech’s accountability while helping him to manage his time better
while staying more organized. The checklist, once instituted, becomes easy to
use. And though seemingly tedious at first, it is less  painful to a service
department than another call back. If eight 20 minute rushed service calls per
day become five 40 minute thorough service calls per day, and eliminate two call
backs a day, that is progress!

Help your technicians answer this question: How can I improve my company’s
service & repair call backs?

  • Reduce the number of call backs that are created through any negligence on
    my part.  
  • Plan to become more concerned with my training, certification upgrades,
    and work performance.  
  • Treat the company’s concerns as if it were my company. Because, as an
    employee, it is.  
  • Find new ways to assist sales in their sales cycle, especially with
    printers and networked copiers.
  • Always thank our customers. They ultimately are the one who are
    responsible for our paycheck.  
  • Return all unused parts to inventory (stop storing in my garage because I
    never use them).
  • Turn in more leads for machine sales and M/A’s
  • Doing the job right, the first time saves time and money.
  • Leave a written account of anything that needs to be done yet the customer
    is unwilling to pay for (waiver).
  • I will maximize my time on calls by doing paper work and cleaning exterior
    of copier while copier is warming up.  
  • Put my entire inventory in an excel spreadsheet to enable me to update my
    inventory daily. 
  • Ask for referrals when on the job.
  • Take advantage of more video training and CD ROM interactive training.  
  • Return all over ordered toners and  bottles in customers’ offices that
    have a Cost per Copy Service Agreement.

Field techs can accomplish an enormous amount of good will with their
customer base. Techs have time to think about their goals and accomplishments as
they drive from service call to service call. Part of being a helpful manager is
creating an atmosphere of good will and appreciation for them.

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