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Hughes understands that its team is only as strong as the quality of its coustomer support. That's why the Company works so hard to provide the best possible support for all its customers-no matter the location, and no matter which Hughes products or services are being used.
A key part of that support is the field maintenance organization, whose job number one is to fulfill the commitments made to customers based on their purchase and choice from a range of maintenance plans and service-level agreements. In North America, Hughes partners with Worldwide Technical Services (WWTS), a professional technology services firm, to ensure that customers get the best onsite maintenance when and where it’s needed. Trained on all Hughes product and service lines, more than 330 WWTS dedicated field service representatives, or technicians, serve over 270,000 Hughes customers under maintenance agreements across 15 product lines.
After passing rigorous physical fitness tests, technicians undergo a three-week formal training curriculum to learn about products, services, and processes, including a full day on safety. Most technicians come to the job with an electronic and/or military background and also have PC and networking certifications. Even armed with all this training, a Hughes field service representative is typically accompanied on service calls for the first several weeks by a field support engineer with 15 or more years of experience, ensuring the highest possible quality of support.
Field service technicians are issued safety gear, including flame- retardant overalls, steel-toed boots, safety glasses, all-weather hand protection, and harnesses. Toolkits include not only hand tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches and troubleshooting tools like meters and antenna-pointing equipment, but also safety equipment, including fiberglass ladders, along with a full complement of manuals, checklists, and spare parts.
At its core, field maintenance is all about problem solving. There’s no telling what technicians may encounter at a customer site, and they must be prepared to troubleshoot and resolve any type of problem at any type of site—whether an office, a warehouse, an apartment building, a restaurant, or a single-family home.
They must have a solid understanding of both satellite and terrestrial transports such as DSL and cable. In addition, they must possess expert knowledge of a whole host of technical components such as firewalls, switches, routers, and protocol converters so they can perform the necessary troubleshooting and repairs.
In one possible scenario, a quick-service restaurant customer may find that the store can no longer run credit and debit transactions after a thunderstorm passes through. A call to the local help desk immediately initiates troubleshooting steps confirming the outage, followed by scheduling of an onsite visit. Once at the site, the technician obtains background, not only on the power outage, but also any recent software installations and any other factors that may be affecting the system. Another important part of preparing for any repair work involves setting up a safe barrier around the worksite, which in some cases may require a permit. Only then can the technician proceed with the troubleshooting and repair.
In addition to the dedicated onsite maintenance team, a backup workforce is trained on Hughes equipment so they can step in immediately after major outages to help get sites in the affected areas up and running, including hospitals, shelters, convenience stores, and gas stations.
“Field maintenance is our mainstay at Hughes,” said Dan Isoldi, director of field maintenance services. “Our customers depend on us, and part of our advantage is the ability to continuously maintain equipment—whether new or old—and ensure that it keeps our customers connected to the service they need, with the goal of restoring every site on time, every time.”