Rethinking the maintenance service

From time to time, we must rethink in an orderly manner what we do and how we do it. Especially when there are clear-cut signs that the situation has changed (legal changes, price reductions, increased competition…).

It is time to rethink the maintenance service. In the elevator and escalator industry, one can distinguish three fundamental goals and three courses of action.

Safety, lifetime extension of components and customer/user satisfaction as fundamental goals:

- To guarantee safety for users and maintenance engineers. The tendency to increase the ratio of elevators per maintenance engineer endangers safety as a main goal.

- To take care of components, which extends the life span of devices, reduces costs for owners and minimizes the environment footprint. This statement that seems so obvious isn’t always appreciated by customers, who accept price reductions today, unaware of the extra costs of tomorrow.

- To offer a good service perceived by customers. We’re only actually capable of assessing a service when observing, touching and understanding it.

Processes, technology and people as courses of change:

- Process design methods are a powerful tool for the Management to achieve the goals above. Design the process flow with time constraints and resources available, bottlenecks and buffers to protect them.

- Technological developments in component design tend to reduce maintenance time, as remote and predictive maintenance is increasingly accessible, for instance through the “connected elevator”.

- The profile of maintenance engineers must evolve to benefit from the potential of interaction with customers. Beyond testing, inspection and maintenance tasks in general, maintenance engineers are the face of the company.

Maintenance professionals are the straightest way to achieve the third goal: to make customers perceive a good service.

The “tools” to attain it are empathy, time, attention, professionality, accessibility, evidences. But, are our maintenance operators trained to handle these “tools”?

The development of these skills is an excellent opportunity to prevent them from falling into any of the seven deadly sins of customer service.

Apathy might be the most usual sin, as a consequence of repetitive work. Motivation is undoubtedly the best antidote.

It is time to train our maintenance engineers in Customer Service. This way they will grow as professionals and we will have more happy and satisfied customers in our portfolio.