Customer service skills for maintenance technicians
For current and prospective maintenance technicians, to stand out in the job pool, simply having technical knowledge and experience is unfortunately no longer enough.
So much of a maintenance technician's day to day responsibilities involve interacting with others, because at the core of each job is a request from a person or people: repairing, maintaining, or replacing machinery for companies or individuals. In other words, customer service is built into maintenance and maintenance technicians are responsible for fulfilling the needs of whom they are working for.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment opportunities for maintenance technicians and repair workers will grow 6% by the year 2024. As the job market grows and machinery use expands (and thus requires additional repairs), we've found that employers are looking specifically for maintenance technicians with a more sophisticated understanding of customer service to fill open positions. Including customer service skills on your resume will give you the edge you need in an increasingly crowded applicant pool.
What does customer service mean, exactly?
First, let's discuss what quality customer service actually entails. We've found that many jobs that require customer service skills have these traits in common:
- listening effectively
- thinking analytically
- paying attention to detail
- staying organized
In other words, good customer service isn't just a single skill to be cultivated, but a variety of equally important qualities that work in tandem with each other.
Much of good customer service comes from experience. Think about how you handle problems or unexpected setbacks: do you remain calm and think about possible solutions, or charge ahead and try to fix everything at once? How do you work in groups — do you overpower a room, making sure your ideas are heard first and loudest, or do you spend time listening to others' perspectives? Thinking about your tendencies in interpersonal interactions can help you identify whether you already have good customer service qualities innately, as well as what you might need to work on.
How do you highlight customer service on a resume?
Now that we've established what great customer service looks like (and how you can work on yours), it's important to understand how customer service situations can manifest in the day-to-day tasks of a maintenance technician. Let's begin with this hypothetical situation: you work as a maintenance technician for a large facility. You receive dozens of requests every day from a variety of departments to fix a range of things. Some tasks are more involved or higher priority than others, but they're all very difficult to manage at once. Good customer service in this situation, first and foremost, means effective communication skills— being clear in your communication with each department about when their maintenance request will be taken care of, and then sticking to those deadlines. Prioritization of these tasks will also aid in this communication. Communicating openly and then delivering reliable service to each department is what good customer service looks like in this situation.
Here's another example: you work for a maintenance service within a larger company that makes machinery for manufacturing companies. You could get called to a factory to help fix your company's machines that they use. In this interaction, you may be the sole representative of your company (aside from whom they spoke to on the phone or communicated with via email). If you act disrespectfully or demonstrate poor problem-solving skills, you'll reflect negatively on behalf of your entire company. This could jeopardize your company's relationship with the factory, and they might decide as a result to take their business to another company. Exhibiting good customer service can be key to making sure that clients continue doing business with you and your firm, even when problems inevitably arise.
Customer service is vital to a maintenance technician's job since they'll ultimately work to fix and maintain machinery and systems for other people. As such, list customer service skills — good communication, efficient problem solving, patience, attention to detail, etc. — on your resume to convince potential employers that you possess more than just the technical qualifications to succeed as a maintenance technician.