Imagine opening up a reputable trade magazine and reading an article that states that you should stop maintaining your mechanical and electrical equipment. You read the following:
Engineers have just discovered that maintenance of mechanical and electrical equipment is not needed to keep equipment running at peak performance. “You’ll get better performance by ignoring the equipment altogether. The equipment will run better and you will save money on not having to pay those service bills!” This is great news for building owners and process managers. They can now take a hands-off approach and while getting excellent performance from their equipment.
Sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? Who could possibly believe that the equipment that we lovingly maintain for our customers could possibly perform better if left un-serviced? It’s almost like saying that the law of gravity no longer applies. In real life, without maintenance, filters will clog, belts will break and electrical connections will overheat. The cost of keeping things running, let alone performing at their peak will go up exponentially. Ultimately, everything will grind to a halt.
And yet, as business owners and service managers, we sometimes have similarly unrealistic expectations when it comes to the performance of our service techs. Not only do our service techs need to be technically excellent at their job but through their interpersonal skills, they play a major marketing role for our companies as well. They represent our firms and define the customer’s service experience. They are often the reason for retaining a customer or losing them. In most cases, they actually ARE our companies. Their interpersonal performance matters!
Yet, what are we doing for the technician to help them to “maintain” this high level of interpersonal performance? What have we done to provide them with the critical people skills needed to excel? What tools and techniques have we given them to interact well with our customers and to handle the challenges of interpersonal relationships while working under pressure – sometimes extreme? What efforts have we made to eliminate processes and policies that detract them from providing exceptional customer service?
As business owners and managers, we have a choice. We can leave it to chance and cross our fingers that the “law of gravity” does not apply to our technicians. Or, we can take the initiative to define the service experience we want our customers to have and provide interpersonal skills training and support for technicians to make it a reality. The choice is ours.
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“We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.”
– Wernher von Braun