Picking the right service provider to maintain your imaging equipment is a highly subjective decision. What may be a significant service feature for one facility may fall further down the list of importance for another. The goal of this article is to help you ask questions that will qualify which service organization will best serve your needs.
Uptime guarantees have become increasingly common for service providers to offer in full service contracts. Essentially, the service provider guarantees that your system will be functional X amount of days (commonly between 95-97%) over the contract period. If the percentage is less than the agreed amount, the service provider typically offers some sort of extension or discount on the contract. This can be a bargaining chip to ensure that the level of service sold is the level of service received. To some, especially high-volume facilities, this is essential. To others, an uptime guarantee does not impact the decision to use a specific service vendor. If you have a longstanding relationship with your service provider, the trust you’ve built with them can be more important. Does having an uptime guarantee give you the peace of mind needed to sign a service contract or are you satisfied with the trust you’ve built in an existing organization?
Coming to a mutual understanding on engineer response time is crucial. We encourage service buyers to be wary of contract language that defines response time as the amount of hours it takes for an engineer to call the site, not physically have hands on the equipment. Some sites demand a 4-6 hour response time to have an engineer onsite while others have engineers that they prefer, and are willing to wait for. Preferences in this area are often determined by patient volume.
Response time is especially difficult to promise in rural or low-population areas. It’s advisable to consider your geographic location when negotiating response time with your service vendor. Whether your imaging equipment is in Aberdeen, SD or Chicago, IL both the customer and the service provider need to have reasonable expectations of response times. At Block Imaging, our goal is to have an engineer on the phone with your facility within the first hour a service call is placed. If an onsite visit is needed, we try to have an engineer at your door within 4 hours. What is your response time expectation and has your service provider agreed to meet it?
Not every service call requires a hands-on repair from a field service engineer. Many times a phone call from a trained expert can be all that is needed to find and correct minor problems or applications issues. This is especially true when a system has been recently installed and the staff is still adjusting to use on that specific model. If phone support is needed, we try to connect the service engineer with the onsite contact within the first hour that a service call is placed. How important is technical support to your service plan?
Although there are several more areas that need to be taken into consideration when pairing your facility with the proper service organization, these are a few that we discuss most often with our potential customers. We encourage you to explore the rest of your options with some of our other resources and find the service plan that meets the needs of not only your imaging equipment, but also your patients.