Five "No-No's" for Service Techs in the Field10 Aug, 2004 By: Ronelle Ingram imageSource
Five "No-No's" for Service Techs in the Field
sat back listening to a woman grumbling to me over the phone about her inability
to find someone to service her $199 multifunctional, which she didn’t even
purchase from my company, a pop-up appeared on my computer screen. The pop-up
offered a link to view the “Most common mistakes made during a job interview.”
Overcome by boredom, I clicked on it. As I read through the list of the five
most common mistakes made during an interview, I realized these interview
“no-no’s” could also apply to a field service technician’s demeanor in a
customer’s office. Every time a tech enters a customer’s facility, they are in
fact interviewing for the position of the professional, effective service
technician. A field tech’s presentation will go a long way in determining
whether or not a customer will continue to do business with your company.
are the five interview “no-no’s” that should also be avoided by service techs
out in the field.
Poor Communication Skills: The No. 1 gaffe made by jobseekers during an
interview is their failure to communicate well. This includes bad grammar,
talking too much or not listening at all.
the copier/printer world I so often hear other service managers tell me about
what great techs they have with the exception that “he talks to himself while
repairing a machine” or “he talks down to the customers” or “he speaks broken
English, which limits his ability to communicate with a customer.”
each case, the technicians are NOT great techs. The ability to professionally
communicate with the end user is necessary to achieve a high level of service.
No matter how talented a service tech may be with his hands, without
professional customer relations skills this person is of lesser overall value to
Although field techs should be candid, they shouldn’t share all of their
personal problems. There is a big difference between effective communication
with the customer and discussing subjects outside the realm of the
copier/printer issue at hand.
good technician is aware of the difference between professional friendliness and
inappropriate small talk. Flirting with the receptionist or key operator is not
appropriate. The great tech should ask the necessary questions and explain the
essential information for proper future operation. No matter how happy a
customer is to see the tech, they are happier to know the equipment has been
serviced appropriately and the tech has left their office.
Lack of Preparation: Jobseekers need to prepare for an interview. Lack of eye
contact, extreme gestures, eating and taking cell phone calls can turn off
Similar to an interview, customers are not impressed with technicians who
scratch their heads in confusion, pull disappearing acts or simply admit that
they have never confronted such a problem before.
prepared technician will research any unfamiliar code or symptom (that was given
by the key operator while placing the service call) before entering the
customer’s office. Taking a few extra minutes to research a down code in advance
makes the tech appear to be an expert. If the customer has called for
preventative maintenance, the technician should come prepared with all the
necessary parts. Preparedness also means having all your tools and necessary
equipment, including a pen and a service order form. The technician who asks the
customer for a pen and calculator in order to write up the bill does not appear
Negative Attitude: Speaking poorly of others, profanity, talking down to
people, displaying an arrogant attitude, or behaving in a non-professional way
will not earn you points in an interview. In fact, it will turn the person
conducting the interview off.
course, the same goes for a technician out in the field. A negative attitude is
never attractive. Even if a customer is to blame for breaking the equipment, the
technician should act in a professional and courteous manner. A toner spill,
broken front door or displaced drum section should be viewed as job security.
Even in the worst of times, a great technician can think: “If not for customers
like this, I might not have my job. I am grateful for the problems other people
cause. They provide about half of my income. Thank you for people who do not
know how to follow instructions.”
Inappropriate Appearance: Improper clothing and grooming can jeopardize an
interview. Don’t dress as if you were going out to a night club or to the
beach. Polished shoes, neatly trimmed hair, conservative clothing and a hint
of cologne or perfume are the embodiment of a professional appearance.
field service technician will make many first impressions during the day. On any
given day a tech may have to deal with rain, snow, heat, wind, traffic jams and
other frustrations of the job. An ironed shirt, polished shoes, neat haircut,
cleanly shaved or nicely trimmed facial hair instantly tells the customer that
your technician is ready to work.
the tech opens his tool case, the contents should be neat and in an orderly
fashion. The technician should have a plan and a process when working on the
equipment in need of service. Caution and a protective drop cloth may be
necessary to keep the work area clean. If the equipment has to be moved, it
should be done in a safe manner. After the completion of the call, all parts
should be replaced. The area and equipment should be left clean. If the tech
uses a cleaning solution with a scent of lemon, the customer can sense that the
equipment has been serviced properly. The entire demeanor of the technician can
create a sense of confidence. A technician who looks professional is more
Dishonesty: Dishonesty can only get you in trouble in an interview. Tell the
truth and don't exaggerate.
Knowledge is one of the strongest traits exhibited by a good technician.
Technicians who know their jobs and are able to communicate to customers are
viewed as honest workers. Believability will allow a technician to earn the
trust of the customer. It is important that the technician communicates with the
customer in an honest and forthright manner. Additionally the service manager
must be able to have confidence in the technician. This trust will extend to the
accuracy of the technician’s expense report or the explanation of a scratched
drum. With this element of trust, the tech and manager can work together as an
effective team able to remedy any problem.
service managers we must be vigilant in assuring our technicians are competent
and conduct themselves in a professional manner when visiting our customers’
offices. It just could be the difference between your business flourishing or