The technician as an increasingly strategic figure in the relationship with the customer
There is a great misunderstanding about the possibility of replacing technical competences with artificial intelligence. A misunderstanding born from a fragmented vision of the role of those who daily assist customers in resolving practical, urgent and often extremely complicated problems. We think that all that can be written in a manual can then be written in codes and replicated in an impersonal manner. In reality the experience could become a regulation written on an algorithm, thus simplifying the adoption of standards without forcing those occupied with maintenance to tread paths already trod over and over again; but the role of those who work on maintenance or in putting the machine into good working order alongside the customer is far more complicated and in continual evolution. There are also people, like Maurizio Cattaneo, who wrote an almost philosophic book on the importance of the role of those occupied with maintenance entitled: “Maintenance, a hope for the future of mankind”. Cattaneo already sheds light on several truths in the preface, about the dimension of the role, at times carried out by every technician in an entirely natural and informal manner. Today, the cultural value of this figure is being increasingly recognized and formalized.
If technical competences and a perfect knowledge of the machine and its potentiality remain at the heart of this professional role, it is always increasingly true that the servicing technician is a strategic point of contact between company and user; working at a delicate time in the customer’s experience, those occupied with technical assistance are often perceived as the person responsible for the quality of the brand. Their role, particularly in the Healthcare sector, involves images of the company through various types of competence.
These are the figure’s key competences, focused on the practical resolution of the problem and useful to avoid tricky situations. It is not only necessary to have a perfect knowledge of how the machine works, but also the utilization context, the customer’s procedures, the expected clinical outcomes and the possibility to upgrade performances. Technical competences are currently those on greatest demand by the labour market and those requiring increasingly constant refresher courses. The perception of the reliability of the brand depends on the quality of the response to this demand for competence made by the customer.
Are the qualities essential to create a useful trustworthy relationship not so much to sell a product as to actively listen to the customer to understand their requirements. The needs are in fact not always specified clearly and at times lie dormant in the mind of the customer, who needs to discuss them with an expert to clarify what they actually want and check to see if there is a solution. This aspect influences the empathetic nearness with the brand.
Creativity is understood as the capacity to find solutions in a flexible manner, looking at the problem from all angles and imagining scenarios together with the customer. The technician’s sensitivity in perceiving, together with the users, possible additional applications is an essential source of stimulation for Research and Development. These professionals are, together with commercial figures, the principal antennae of the entire innovation process. It is thanks to this competence that the customer can acquire an idea of the brand’s visionary capacity.
Change making competences
Products continually evolve, the customer’s in-house organization undergoes continual revolutions and the dimension and centrality of its role changes rapidly. The capacity to tackle all kinds of changes in a rapid, flexible manner is one of the principal skills required of this figure, always in contact with the customer. Making the attitude towards change its own also helps the customer not to fear innovation: this signifies rowing all together towards progress. Knowing how to steer through change, the technical figures offer a reassuring image of the brand, also in stormy seas.
Operating in the medical world the technicians adopt the ethics featuring care for the person. Integrity is an indispensable value at each point of the value chain. Consultancy, even under the commercial aspect, must also respect the delicate equilibriums with those that are the external aspects of the product and how it works in a diagnostic process involving person’s fragility. Sensitivity towards this aspect accounts for the ethics of the brand.
Precisely because of this evolution in profile continual refresher courses and constant updating is needed to render maintenance technicians Customer Service professionals, point of contact between the world of industrial research and that of care.
Maintenance is derived from the Latin manu tenere, hold by the hand. Those wanting to sell goods or a service will be facilitated in said job if they are able to accompany the user in a correct usage and establish beforehand how the goods or service must be held by its hand, in order to ensure the proper evolution throughout time and to guarantee the update of performances, in line with the change of customer’s needs.
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