If you run a small business that relies on equipment assets to serve your customers, it is crucial that you get the help you need when your equipment needs maintenance. To get the right help, you need the right technicians in your corner. Identifying the right technician can feel like a real chore. After all, there are a lot of bad eggs in the service vendor marketplace. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the qualities of a good technician. We will also discuss how to find and manage service vendors with Equips.

4 Qualities of a Good Technician

The goal in working with a service provider is to have somewhere to turn when your equipment needs maintenance. However, it is important to have a good service vendor that you trust when things go awry. Too often, small businesses make the mistake of entering into a long-term agreement with a vendor that is not reliable. Even worse, they might not be aligned with the goals of your business, or not entirely qualified to work on your equipment. Therefore, it is important that you know how to identify the qualities of a good technician. Here are four things to inquire about as you begin to interview vendors.

1. Communication Structure

When service is needed on your equipment, there is no time for confusion. It is important that your team, especially those in customer-facing roles, know how to handle the situation. This means knowing how to reach out to your technician. One of the most important qualities of a good technician is that they are easy to contact when there is a problem. Nobody wants to have their call forwarded to multiple people before finally reaching somebody who can help.

The service vendors we are most likely to recommend are those that utilize a communication structure where Account Managers are assigned to different customers. This gives the customer a simple and straightforward way to begin receiving support. Simply contact your Account Manager, who then dispatches a qualified technician to perform maintenance. This takes the ambiguity out of calling for service.

2. Technician Density

Every good technician must be able to provide fast service. One of the first things you should look to uncover as you begin to interview different service vendors is their technician density. Technician density refers to the number of technicians serving your geographic area.  Furthermore, technician density reflects how many qualified technicians can serve you. For instance, say you work for a financial institution and your Teller Cash Recycler (TCR) goes down. A service vendor may have twenty technicians serving your area but only one of them is qualified to work on your TCR. This might be troublesome if you need fast service but the one technician that can help you is already booked up. As you interview different service vendors, also inquire about the number of customers the vendor serves in your area. This might help you gauge the availability of a technician should you need one immediately.

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3. Technician Training

Any good technician has the training and experience to get the job done. One key attribute that reliable service vendors share is a supportive training program for their technicians. Too often, service vendors do not provide adequate training for their new hires. Most of their “training” comes from learning on the job. This strategy works in a variety of industries, but it isn’t ideal for those in which time is of the essence to complete work. In other words, you don’t want to work with a service vendor that has many greenhorn technicians that are still learning. Instead, find a service vendor that provides adequate on-the-job training for their technicians. Many vendors that we recommend have a mentor/mentee method of training. In this method, a new hire will accompany an experienced technician to service jobs. This allows the mentee to ask questions and learn by assisting their mentor.

4. Efficient Supply Chains

Having efficient supply chains for sourcing parts might be the most important quality of a good technician. Many equipment faults are caused by just one or two malfunctioning parts. A good technician is experienced enough to know which parts are most likely to malfunction and already have the new part stocked and loaded on the truck. Nobody wants to wait a few weeks after diagnosis to have a part installed. That would mean extended downtime on your equipment.

Fill Rates

A good service vendor will already have the most common parts in their truck so they can fix the issue without needing to make a second trip. To get an idea of how often a vendor can complete the part replacement with just one visit, ask the vendor what their Fill Rate is. A good Fill Rate is between 70 and 80 percent. It is nearly impossible to have a perfect Fill Rate because some parts typically don’t fail, and therefore will not be stocked. For example, the fascia of the ATM typically doesn’t need to be replaced unless there is vandalism. Because this is not extremely common, it is unlikely that the part will be in stock.

Part Sourcing

It is important for service vendors to have an efficient way of sourcing parts. Since vendors can strategically only carry the most common parts in their trucks, they need a way to source less common parts. Ideally, you want to avoid vendors that rely on parts being shipped to them on demand because that implies longer wait times. We recommend using vendors that source their parts from local depots—this type of supply chain almost always results in faster repairs and less equipment downtime.

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Managing Service Vendors with Equips

Still struggling to find the right service technician for your business needs? No problem. We are here to help. Using our network of over 500 service vendors, Equips can help you find the right vendor that has all the qualities of a good technician. When you work with Equips, you gain the resources to manage both your equipment and service vendors effectively. Using the Equips web application, you can keep all of your equipment and vendor information under one roof. When your equipment needs maintenance, simply place a service request in the application. From there, we will dispatch your preferred technician to come work on it. This whole process takes only about 15 seconds so you can get on with your day. Equips also automates your maintenance history. Using smart technology, Equips can diagnose chronic equipment issues with the data collected from your service requests.

To learn more about how Equips can make equipment and vendor management simple for your business, be sure to schedule a demo with a member of our Solutions Team today!

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