A Day in the Life of a Miller Electric Serviceman

It’s winter and that means it’s still dark out when Electrical Service Manager Steve Schneiderwind starts to receive phone calls and emails from customers in need of electrical service. Coffee firmly in hand, Steve scans the service schedule for the day to refresh his memory about who he’s sending where that day. Like many in other trades and professions, Miller’s electrical service staff have different skill sets that uniquely qualify some for certain jobs over others. When it comes to customer service, Steve is a matchmaker, working hard to send the serviceman most well-suited for a particular service request out to fill it.

Today, that means sending one employee on a two and a half hour drive to check a generator for a customer and report back about propane levels and performance. It means sending another to respond to a call from a facility manager dealing with a blown breaker that he and his staff haven’t been able to repair. After getting his schedule set, checking through all his voicemails and email, Steve waits for the phone to ring and his email inbox to signal new service requests that he knows are coming.

He doesn’t have to wait long.

Featured in the photo is Electrical Service Manager, Steve Schneiderwind.

Sending the Right Serviceman for the Job

It’s light outside now and the phone is ringing. Throughout the day, Steve fields calls and email requests from commercial businesses and contractors of all types. Quite often, customers have lost power from somewhere, don’t know where their power is fed from, and aren’t sure what caused the power to stop working.

Phone calls are more prevalent when service is required quickly. Some of the calls are non-urgent and as simple to fix as a light not working while occasionally, a customer has lost all power to his or her facility. In those cases, Steve assembles a team to respond to the urgent need for power immediately. Steve can usually tell right away when a customer is in panic mode and when he or she just needs something repaired. He takes the time to gather as much information as he needs to determine who to send out to resolve the issue and then gets busy shifting schedules and sending servicemen where they need to be to best serve the customer.

Today, one customer has a problem with his European-made machinery. The client makes cabinets and despite his best efforts to reduce the sawdust and wood chips, it’s common for dust to settle on machinery contacts, create carbonization, and lead to bad connections that shut down the machines, making it impossible to get work done. Steve knows just who to send out to the job, but it will mean shuffling Kevin’s schedule a bit.

Over 25 years with Miller Electric (20 of those in the Service Department), Kevin O’Neill has a knack for asking the right questions to draw the information he needs out of a customer to troubleshoot the source of their problem and the experience to know how to resolve it. It’s a skill he first gained in the Navy, where he began his electrical career. In this case, Steve knows the client’s machinery was manufactured in Germany or Italy, rendering the service manuals’ schematics on the machines difficult to decipher. Kevin will have to get the customer to explain how the machine works and spend a good deal of time searching from one relay to another to determine the source of the bad connection.

Solving Problems Starts with Asking Questions

Miller Electric servicemen ask a host of questions about how the affected machine or work area normally operates as well as external factors to narrow down the culprit in the power loss. Steve knows Kevin and the rest of his staff will ask questions like:

“Was there anything else happening in the building at the time?”

“Did anybody in the neighboring facilities have any issues with anything?”

“How long has this been happening?”

“Does anything else happen when this happens?”

Often, the problem can be repaired with a small installation, new outlet or switch, tightening loose wires, or determining causes of electrical overload and helping the customer devise a plan for preventing that overload from recurring. It’s not uncommon on a call for a serviceman to notice something that isn’t an issue at the moment but may become one in the future if proactive action isn’t taken. Steve knows his guys will point out those things to customers and make them aware of how to best resolve them.

Featured in the photo is Miller Electric employee, Jim Mayer, who started with the company in 1968.

Constant Communication Leads to Satisfied Customers

Once he has his plan and team in place, Steve calls every customer back and lets him or her know who is coming to their site and when they can be expected to arrive. Once onsite, Steve knows the servicemen will determine the required repairs, keep in touch with the customers and stay on top of ordering needed parts. Because Steve and the entire Miller Electric electrical service department maintain constant communication with customers, it’s not uncommon for customers to call Steve when the repair process is complete to thank him for taking care of their needs.

That’s when a sense of satisfaction spreads washes over Steve. At the end of the day, he can look back over that day, that week and even that year to see how all the moving parts of Miller Electric’s electrical service repair team came together to provide stellar service.