Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day of a Repair Clerk

I asked Sean to tell you a little about what his work day includes. Sean sits at the front desk in the lobby. He's the one that buzzes people into the building, greets customers, and answers the repair phone line. He is a customer service representative, a repair clerk, and always delivers a daily smile to everyone who walks in and out of the building.
I arrive to work a bit before 8:30 am so I can survey the amount of camera equipment that arrived on my shelves earlier in the morning. After mentally assessing how long it will take me to enter all the equipment (and I’m always wrong), I gather up the paperwork for repairs that our customers have approved in the later part of the previous day. I then go match up paperwork with equipment, and deliver it to the appropriate repair technician – Bill, Victor, Jeff, or Peter. Each tech has their own area of expertise, but most can help out if another tech has a problem or needs an alternate point of view with an especially difficult or troublesome piece of equipment. I then pop back to my desk up front and log into the phone system, and begin entering the boxes of equipment into our repair system. Customer equipment goes first, as I have to get estimates back from the techs in order to call customers, then KEH internal equipment. Some days I’ll come in and there will be 5 or 10 cameras and lenses, and other days I’ll have 50 or 60. The truth about camera repair is that there is no exact pattern to any day, week, month, season, or year.

Just when I’m hitting my stride in entering in data, the phone rings. This is another factor in how quickly equipment is entered and estimates are made– but without the phone calls, we wouldn’t have equipment to repair. There is no rhyme or reason to the volume or type of calls I get. “Do you work on…”, “I’m getting an ‘Error99’…”, “I’m calling to check the status of my repair?”, “How do I send my…”, “According to UPS my camera arrived yesterday and I haven’t heard…” – these are all the calls I get on a daily basis.

Another part of my job, due to the location of where I sit (at the main lobby for our entire company) and the nature of my job (customer service), is that I greet all persons that come into the building. Not only do people bring in their equipment to be repaired, but some people are coming to pick up purchases that they made (as they live in the Atlanta area and would rather not have it shipped), and others bring in equipment to be evaluated for purchasing. Of course people seem to always call in during this time as well. Fortunately, we have a very good voicemail system, and with our track record of calling people back, customers usually feel good about leaving a message. Always remember – if you call during our normal business hours and get the voicemail, I’m usually assisting another customer. But I will always call back!

Time, as it always does when you have a busy job, seems to evaporate and then it’s lunch time! Usually for me, this is around 12:30. Half an hour to eat whatever I brought or whatever I bought, and perhaps read a bit. All too soon, lunch is over and back to the grind we go.
After lunch is a bit different in task orientation. While the morning is mainly spent getting equipment entered into the repair system, the afternoon is mostly spent on the phone. I collect all the estimates that the techs have placed in my mailbox, and then I start calling. My phone calls end up in one of three ways - 1) the customer approves the repair estimate (or re-estimate as does happen from time to time), and I get or confirm payment information, and place these approvals in one stack off to the side; 2) the customer does not answer the phone, and I leave a message with the basic information and estimated price of repair, and place these in the pending stack; 3) the customer declines the repair, and these go in the refusal stack to be processed out later that day for shipment back to the customer the next day.

In the later part of the afternoon, the quality check technician brings me the paperwork for the completed and QC tested equipment. The remainder of my day is spent processing out the equipment that I have payment information for, or contacting customers to get their payment info. so I can return their equipment to them. For the customers that I cannot reach, or for those who wish to come and pick up their equipment in person, their paperwork ends in yet another stack pending either the arrival of their payment or their person.

Around 5pm it's time for me to go home. I very rarely get the opportunity to get bored at work, and this is the aspect of my job that I like the most. There may be some repetition to the job, but no day is anything like another – and this makes work both challenging and interesting. One thing I can say about working in the repair department, is that I have learned so much more than I have ever thought I could about the inner workings of cameras, lenses, and other photographic equipment.