Medical imaging equipment is, by nature, very technical equipment. Each modality has its own set of maintenance concerns, unique parts, and even language. This is why, when your equipment is having problems, you want to talk to someone who knows you, your system, and your history. Getting all three of these things, however, can be a tall order.
Below are three things Block Imaging is doing to bring our team closer to this "service trifecta". If you're in the market for a service provider, ask anyone you're considering about these:
Equipment downtime is frustrating enough without being passed around from dispatcher to dispatcher, describing your issue over and over again. Working with a service provider that assigns a single representative to manage your account helps solve this. Every time you call, you speak to the same person. All of your email correspondence is with that person. Over time, your rep begins to know you and your system. This knowledge saves time, eases scheduling for routine maintenance, and simplifies communication. It also provides the pleasant perk of a more personal touch.
In a "perfect" service scenario, anyone experiencing an imaging equipment problem could place a call and speak to their field service engineer directly about a resolution. Unfortunately, engineers are busy people, with in-demand skills, that simply cannot be everywhere at once. This is why a proactive service provider should provide the next best thing: service reps that have at least a basic knowledge of the systems their customers use.
By virtue of having an in-house engineering team, Block service reps are afforded the opportunity to undergo some basic training on major modalities and popular models seeing use in the hospitals and clinics that they serve. These reps are certainly no substitute for a thoroughly trained, experienced engineer, but awareness of common problems, first steps for diagnosis, and even the lingo/jargon within each modality save time and money, eliminate confusion/miscommunication, and add value to initial contact.
A prime example is table errors. A rep with basic training will know that the caller should check that their e-stop button(s) are not depressed. Simple fixes like these can completely eliminate the need to dispatch an engineer. In essence, a rep who can "speak your language" and pass valuable information on to the field engineer does a lot more than simply taking a message.
Availability of Records
The most effective service conversations happen when both the end user and the provider are looking at the same information. Providers who make access to this information simple and reciprocal nurture these kinds of conversations.
An imaging system's service history is full of clues about potential future issues, parts needs, and the overall condition of the equipment. Proactive service providers should, at least, send service reports and maintenance schedules electronically so that end users can find them quickly with a search of their email inbox. Some providers do even more (ex. Block's ServiceWindow), storing all service records for a facility online, just a username and password away.
For those of you searching for the best provider to take your equipment under their wing- ask your prospects what they're doing to grow well-informed reps who are more than a "middle man" between you and the engineer.
For those of you already in a service agreement, consider the effort and methods your provider has used to get to know you, your system, and your service history. Are they working out for you? Or are you leaving messages, repeating yourself, and talking to strangers?