Duties: Liaison between customers and dealer technicians, responsible for guiding troubleshooting opportunities to a positive resolution
MHMRO: How did you get into this field, and what do you like about it?
Collier: I grew up working on log trucks for a family business that gave me my first exposure to equipment and repairs. My dad taught me a lot about integrity, and he gave me a foundation in knowing that the right thing is rarely the easiest thing. I learned from my dad the importance of performing the job right and the negative impact of shortcuts and poor quality.
Eventually, I took a job with Papé in April 2008, right before the recession hit. It was a tough time to be in business, but I got to hone skills I would never have developed if not for the downturn. It was a lesson in aligning our own values with those of the customer to make the repair and reinforce the customer/dealer partnership.
What I like most about this industry is the satisfaction of helping a technician through a troubleshooting issue they may be struggling with. I’ve been in their shoes before, so I love the opportunity to apply my experience. That’s hugely rewarding for me.
MHMRO: What would you say to young people who are considering a career as a technician?
Collier: You get out of this industry what you put into it. If I can size up a customer’s problem and provide them a solution, then that’s rewarding on all levels. To me, wages are the byproduct of good customer and product support, so if you can improve uptime and increase customer satisfaction, then in the end, customers are going to come back to you.
MHMRO: How do you keep up with new technologies?
Collier: Staying engaged. If I hear about a new product or feature that’s coming out on our trucks—or a competitor’s truck—I want to know everything I can about that. I try to stay engaged with new products so I can understand how new features best fit my customer base. For example, when the new lithium-ion batteries came out, I was able to use my knowledge of them to help customers who were having challenges watering and maintaining lead-acid batteries.
MHMRO: What are the most important skills for a successful technician?
Collier: Conflict resolution. We’re here to support and engage the product, and that doesn’t always go perfectly, so it’s important to make sure you’re up front, honest and remain professional at all times. Remember that there’s going to be vulnerability, but there’s also a team behind you to help understand where a situation went wrong and how to resolve it.
Communication is critical. Some technicians may be nervous about not knowing all the answers, but as a service organization, we want to know what you don’t know to help you become a more complete, effective technician. If one technician encounters an issue, it could be likely many technicians have the same struggle. As a team, we want to collaborate to make sure we understand everyone’s experience and share that information as a group.
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