Gary Smith of Coherent is a UK Field Engineer with 11 years’ service working on a diverse list of laser systems. He has shared his typical day.
The day to day job is extremely varied, working mostly within the UK mainland but occasionally travelling outside of the UK reacting to service related calls which can include installations, routine preventative maintenance, breakdowns and training on a wide range of products for a varied cliental base. With the industry we work in being extremely fast moving, no two days are the same, but I will try to give an overview of how we work & react to a customer request for assistance.
Handling a customer request
A request will come into our office either by a phone call or an email asking for assistance which in turn will generate a case. Once the case has been processed by our Technical Support team and if they are unable to resolve the issue remotely then the case is allocated to one of the Field Service Engineers of which I am one.
We the engineers are generally first made aware of the case being allocated to us via an email and a message which are automatically generated at the point the case is assigned to us through our electronic case handling software. At this point we now have access electronically via our Field Service app on our phones to all the information we need prior to attending the customer’s site. The information we have access to via the app will include the date that has been agreed for us to attend the customers site, the customer’s contact details and address, case information about the issue with the system and any parts that have been allocated which we may have to collect from our UK office prior to the visit if they have not been shipped direct to site already.
The day prior to a site visit I will normally check the case details once more and do a little research into the system fault, so I have a basic idea of what I am looking at once I arrive. I will also check the approximate travel time to site which in turn will give me an idea of what time I will need to set off on the morning of the visit.
The day of the site visit
On the day of the visit I will always aim to leave allowing enough time so that I arrive at the customer’s site before 10am unless the customer has requested a specific time for me to be on site.
On arrival at site it is possible to be presented with a varied selection of different processes to go through so that we can gain access. These may be a simple as knock on a door and be let straight in through to having to sign in, present risk assessments, complete health & safety inductions and being briefed on any Covid/Site restrictions that apply to that customer’s location.
Once access has been gained and before I start any work on their system I will always spend a few minutes talking to the system operator if they are available and my site contact if different to the operator to gain a little more information about the issues that are experiencing, I always find this very useful as they often give me small helpful snippets of information that are not contained in the case notes. This interaction can also help to build or reinforce the customer relationship experience and make them feel more valued as a result, it also makes the chance of being offered a cup of coffee more likely too.
Now at this point the specific task we have been sent in to do may take anything from 2 hours for a simple routine preventative maintenance upwards with some jobs taking over 3 days for complex installations with customer system training. Breakdowns can vary too and can be caused by mechanical, electrical or optical issues.
Once the task has been completed I then fill out some information on our Field Service app detailing timings, parts that have been fitted, parts that are being returned due to not being required and details of what has been done which may include any outstanding actions we need to follow up on. I then ask a member of the customer’s staff to sign the electronic service sheet which is then emailed to the customer and I then mark the case as Completed or Cannot Complete on the app.
Once the electronic service sheet has been completed I then send a customer satisfaction survey to the customer which gives them the opportunity to give us feedback on our performance relating to their case. Finally after I have left site and usually once I have access to an internet connection I also complete a Data Collection Spreadsheet which is designed to capture some system specifics relating to the case for our records.
Further information about Coherent:
A day in the life of a Field Engineer in Life Sciences: