It is always appropriate to ask yourself, "How am I doing?" Are my skills everythigs they should be?" These questions are not just for annual reviews, nor are they only relevant when broached by supervisors. A keen interest in self-improvement, both honing existing skills and learning new ones, helps keep up an engineer's level of interest and motivation, as well as increase overall job statisfaction. To that end, institute yor own personal lessons-learned program to critique yor customer service skills. This analysis might include reviewing a recent project from start to finish, including:

  • Conversations with those inside and outside your company. Were they friendly and successful? Did ou have trouble getting what you wanted or needed?
  • E-mail and other nonverbal communications. Were they perceived as clear, understandable, and complete by the reader? Or did you have to follow-up with clarifications?
  • Technical skills, Are they advanced enough to devise and implement solutions correctly and quickly?
  • Company knowledge Did your knowledge of channels within your company contribute to a quick fix?

Assess weak points in the chain of events. Determine what resources could be used to bolster specific skills. A refresher course, for example, might be useful for polishign technical skills, A continuing education course through your industry's trade association might give you some customer-service tips or best practices. Or, a question-and-answer session with your supervisor could shed light on the best people to talk to within the company when problems arise.

New engineers, generally speaking, should observe customer relations before taking on a customer's problem alone. Several skills that indicate an engineer is ready for fieldwork include:

  • Effective communication with people inside and outside the company.
  • Self-confidence.
  • Patience.
  • Empathy.
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills.
  • Self-motivation.
  • Self-supervision.
  • Even temer.
  • Clear and complete understanding of products and applications.
  • Strong project management.