Appliance Service Technician – Standard of Practice Initiative
Appliance Service Technician – Standard of Practice Initiative
Through Appliance Technical Institute of Canada’s Research and Development initiative, the college director Andrey Czupiel has completed an analysis into service professional documentation practices across the industry. The Technician Service Process steps A.D.P.I.E model and the Focus D.A.R. model have been established in an effort to standardize documentation across the appliance service professional industry. Efforts are currently being made to incorporate these models into service companies across Canada.
STANDARD OF PRACTICE
Documentation is a fundamental cornerstone of an appliance service professional’s responsibilities and is a standard of practice. Appropriate documentation has four important characteristics: it is factual, it is complete, it is current (timely) and it is organized.
Service documentation has significantly evolved beyond the use of a check mark to indicate that a product or their owner was serviced. Information obtained from thorough product assessments and the rationale behind thoughtful, product-focused decisions has short-lived benefits if it is not recorded and accessible to appliance service team members and other service professionals for continuity of appliance troubleshooting and repair. Thus, the adage “If it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done” is highly relevant to appliance servicing practice.
Today, appliance service professionals are not only expected to gather the information needed to assess the product and the symptoms, they must also keep a reliable and easily-retrieved record of this information. Documentation of what is professionally relevant is vital to continuity of appliance care. While changes to the products or characteristics are likely to be noted, things that have not changed may also be of significance.
Documentation on the work order doesn’t require noting entire conversations with customers. It’s about using professional judgement to identify key pieces of information necessary to support decision making. A good documentation practice suggested by practice advisors is to anticipate and record what a colleague would need to know about a products existing condition at a future time in order to continue where you left off. For example, if you addressed a concern, explain your course of action and the rationale behind it.
Effective documentation should incorporate pertinent product information and relevant data acquired from service manuals and other product literature. In turn, it will optimize decision-making, help avoid errors, reduce duplication of services and demonstrate one’s thought process. Documentation includes any written or electronically-generated information about a product that describes the services provided. It should include evidence of the objective and/or subjective data used for professional service decision making.
Designated managers are encouraged to emphasize consistency in documentation approaches within an appliance servicing team by establishing operational processes for documenting on the customer record. The practice of writing notes on a slip of paper or notebook where it can be forgotten or misplaced is discouraged by practice advisors who stress the importance of directly recording information into the customer record.
A member uses professional judgment in determining the extent of documentation and information that should be contained in the customer record. Members should avoid extraneous information and only document what is professionally relevant. The meaning of any entry into a customer record should be clear to a service professional reading the record. The level of detail will vary depending on each situation, including when necessary:
- Identifying information, including that of the member documenting the customer contact;
- Appliance / Product presenting symptoms or concerns (e.g. different sounds, error codes, etc.);
- Information provided to or received from other service professionals or tech line support;
- Collaboration undertaken with other service team members, including outcomes, and/or proposed courses of action;
- Assessments, interventions, and recommendations where professional judgment was exercised along with the evidence on which the recommendations are based; and
- A follow-up plan that is sufficiently detailed to monitor the product’s progress and ensure continuity of care by the technician, and other regulated service technicians, if applicable. (e.g. HVAC, plumber, electrician, etc.);
Based on the Technician Service Process steps A.D.P.I.E model, a process and order of the steps they need to take to provide proper care for the customers appliance or product.
Assessment – During the assessment phase service professionals will attempt to identify the problem and establish a database by interviewing the customer, observing appliance behavior and performing troubleshooting examinations.
Diagnosis – The diagnosis phase of the process is the phase where the service professional develops a theory or hypothesis about the appliance / product situation based on the information that has been collected while performing an assessment.
Planning – Planning is the process of developing a plan in order to achieve a desired outcome such as the heat element performing as it should or a laundry washer completing a full cycle.
Implementation – The implementation phase of the process is the actionable part of the process where the service technician implements the service plan, and interventions so that the appliance / product can achieve their proper function and the process can be evaluated and measured.
Evaluation – This is the part where the service professionals assess and evaluate the success of the planning and implementation processes to ensure that the appliance / product is operating at an optimum level.
The Focus D.A.R. model used by the appliance service team guides the format of your documentation on the customer’s profile:
Data – What information did you gather and check? (sounds heard, error codes, etc.)
Assessment / Action – What is your assessment of the product and symptoms? The action category reflects the planning and implementation phase of the technician service process and includes immediate and future service actions. It may also include any changes to the plan of service.
Response / Result – The response / result category reflects the evaluation phase of the technician service process and describes the appliance / product response to any service provided to it.
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