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Service Technician Competencies

Member survey reveals ideal tech traits.

In 2007, MHEDA and Caliper collaborated to conduct a study defining the core competencies of material handling field service techs and sales engineers. The survey sought to answer the question, “How can MHEDA Member companies improve their ability to recruit, select and manage field service technicians and sales engineers?” The results as they relate to service technicians are outlined below. For more information on this study, contact the MHEDA office at 847-680-3500.

Competencies marked with an asterisk (*) require a high level of proficiency based upon a survey of company owners/presidents and hiring managers.

Influence and Persuasiveness Competencies
*Explaining situations clearly: Provides clients and team members with the information they need to make informed choices about repairs
Dealing with conflict: Defuses conflict effectively without giving in or backing down; uses conflict as an opportunity to solve problems
Displays courage: Does what she/he thinks it right rather than what is convenient or safe; admits mistakes rather than trying to hide them

Interpersonal Competencies
Interpersonal savvy: Displays a high degree of tact and diplomacy; builds good rapport with clients; can explain the causes of mechanical failures in a way that is informative but not accusatory
Reading others: Picks up quickly on clients’ reactions; figures out where their hot buttons are and what will make them happy
Active listening: Pays careful attention to the client’s problem and asks appropriate clarifying questions; lets
the client or operator explain him/herself completely; can restate a conversation accurately
*Demonstrates empathy: Understands the client’s problems and concerns and displays a motivation to be
*Accommodating to clients: Balances client’s and own organization’s needs to make sure that the client is
*Level-headedness: Keeps cool under pressure; maintains an even temper when the client seems to be upset
*Works well with supervisors: Responds to coaching; honest and respectful of supervisors
Comfort with social situations: Friendly and easy to get along with, listens well and can carry on conversations
*Honest and trustworthy: Builds a reputation as a person who is consistent and direct while still seeking to be helpful

Problem-Solving Competencies
Displays insight and intelligence
: Shows superior ability to identify solutions where others cannot; thinks technically but can also translate thoughts into plain language for others
Dealing with uncertain situations: Appears to be comfortable making decisions where the “right answer” is not apparent; is willing to make the call and deal with the consequences
Innovative thinker: Comes up with new ideas; generates alternatives when the usual methods don’t work; solves new or unusual problems effectively
Decisiveness: Can make a reasonably good decision quickly; quick, confident decision maker; not prone to over-thinking or making decisions timidly
Prudent decision making: Thinks through decisions carefully, ensuring that important information is gathered before making a decision; takes his/her time to make sure that the decision is correct
Adaptable and flexible: Likes working on new problems; can apply equipment knowledge and mechanical skills to unusual or novel situations
Improving work processes: Can simplify complex processes to get things done more efficiently
*Develops technical knowledge: Possesses and maintains knowledge of the equipment with which s/he will be working; learns new things quickly and can apply the knowledge on the job
Documenting actions and results: Writes reports of actions taken in a clear, concise way that the client and the office understand easily

Organization and Time Management Competencies
Staying on task
: Keeps focused on important activities; moves quickly from one job to the next
Personal organization: Keeps truck and workspace at client site organized and clean; knows where tools and equipment are; keeps track of tools and equipment despite repeated unloading and reloading
Managing the schedule: Determines how long a repair will take and sets/changes other appointments accordingly; anticipates problems and adjusts schedule to compensate
Multitasking: Can stay focused on several activities at the same time and switch between tasks quickly
*Follows rules and regulations: Ensures that s/he understands the organization’s rules and follows them consistently

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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