Soft Skills – The People Part of Technical Service

May 03, 2018 | Advanced Office

Soft Skills – The People Part of Technical Service

Copiers don’t care if they have problems, people do.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember that in the technical service world, but forgetting that will cause problems that no amount of technical know-how can fix.

This morning I got the opportunity to sit in on one of our monthly service meetings and I was more than a little impressed that half of the agenda was dedicated to what we call Soft Skills.  These are the skills that our technicians must develop and use to address the human side of the service call.

Being able to fix the hardware is certainly a must for a technician, but it is a far smaller part of a positive customer service experience than some may think.  Our President, Richard Van Dyke, has been making this concept of Soft Skills a priority for our service team for the last four years, addressing it and training on it every month.  By his estimate, a positive customer experience is usually around 20% technical and 80% personal.

He started out seven years ago by taking the service team through the Dale Carnegie process to emphasize how important Soft Skills are, even in a technical profession.  Since then, the team has focused every month on the skills that make up that 80% personal piece of a positive customer experience.  Here are just a few that I wanted to share with anyone in the technical service field:


  • Always call the customer to acknowledge you have received the service request
  • Give them an accurate ETA or a reasonable window
  • Stick to that ETA and inform the customer right away if anything has changed
  • Learn the names of the customers that you are working for
  • Check in with the person that placed the service call when you arrive
  • Ask for a more detailed explanation of the original problem and any other issues
  • Upon completion of the work, inform the customer about the cause of the issue and what was done to resolve it
  • Ask if they have any other issues or questions
  • Check out with both the original caller and the person ultimately in charge of the equipment
  • Leave your business card

Going Above and Beyond

  • Look for other ways you can help
    • Does the paper need to be refilled?
    • Are they almost out of toner? Can you reorder it for them?
    • Does the space around (and under or behind) the copier need to be vacuumed?
  • Ask what else you can do to be of assistance
    • This might range from moving the copier to the next room to just reaching the paper plates on the highest shelf of the supply cabinet

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Remember that we fix things not because they are broken, but because a person needs them to work.  There is always a human being behind the equipment.  You must first and foremost consider the problem from that person’s point of view.  It helps to think about how you might want the situation handled if it were you on the other side.

To conclude, if you are in the technical service field, don’t let your high-level technical skills be wasted by forgetting about the personal side of what you do.  Soft Skills need to be learned and practiced just as much as any technical skill, if not more.  After all, it’s people that have a good experience or a bad experience, not machines.