This article discusses the four key qualities needed for field engineers.
Sivakumar A works for Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP). ASP is a global leader in infection prevention solutions for healthcare, with advanced products, technologies, and workflows for medical sterilization and disinfection. Fortive acquired ASP from Johnson & Johnson in 2019.
Sivakumar studied Biomedical Engineering and then whilst working gained an MBA in Operations Management from Anna University.
He is a service specialist and works by doing the right thing at the right time. He leads and encourages his team to do the same thing.
Working in customer service as a field engineer or as a service specialist requires some soft skills, apart from technical and troubleshooting skills.
An expert engineer can troubleshoot a critical problem in a machine in a short time and reduce the downtime, but if they fail to report the exact issue to the user then the entire effort could be in vain, as the user is not aware of how they should improve their use of the equipment.
Similarly, if the service executive couldn’t handle a frustrated customer or responds in a poor manner it could be a total disaster for the organization’s customer service function. It is paramount for field executives to cultivate themselves in certain qualities which can help them to progress in their career.
Four key qualities
In my opinion, the four key qualities are:
Being health conscious
Patience is one of the crucial qualities for a field engineer under two circumstances. Firstly, a complicated problem in a machine for a prolonged time. Secondly, facing a customer who is angry due to high downtime of equipment they are highly dependent upon
E.g. A dialysis machine in a high patient flow dialysis centre.
Patience is essential in both the above-mentioned circumstances. Any inappropriate action taken as a response may lead to an extreme loss either to you, and your professional life as an engineer, or to the organization itself. Hence, before making an attempt, think twice about the possible outcomes of your action. If the outcomes are not favourable, how would you tackle them? Once prepared for these questions then it’s good to go.
Keeping up the commitment is what every customer expects from an organization. Being a representative of an organisation, your duty is to maintain the good reputation of the company. Responding to customer concerns on time shows you are respecting them, and it showcases the professionalism of the engineer. Punctuality plays a key role in building customer trust in you as well as the organization you represent.
Field service is filled with uncertainty and surprises. Engineers may get a call from a customer during weekends or off time. They must be able to come out of their current situation and should start focusing on the customer’s issues. It might be challenging for the incumbents but can be learned over time. Developing this quality will enhance your ability to face new challenges and find solutions in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world.
Being Health conscious
A field engineer may have to travel extensively to various geographic locations to satisfy customer needs. To be efficient and productive you should spend some quality time on your health. As the saying goes, ‘Health is lost, everything is lost’. Keeping yourself hydrated, having a healthy diet, and working out regularly will keep you physically fit and mind sharp. Unexpected breakdown calls may restrict you from going to the gym regularly or force you to have junk food on the go but, it’s better to be prepared for surprises by having a bottle of water and protein bars with you always, similarly, promise yourself to workout at least four days a week with or without a gym.
To conclude, these qualities can be learned by experience and can be developed by focusing on self-development. A plethora of books are available on self-development which talks about Patience, Punctuality, Adaptability, and Health consciousness with different names. By gaining expertise in these, you can fly with colours in your field.