The helpline is at the heart of Prodeval’s client approach. The support provided may be in response to an emergency, the need for an onsite intervention, or a request for technical support or supplies. Three experts from the parent company give us their take.
A profession of passion and knowledge
Those who provide assistance to our clients unanimously agree that the quality of the relationship is at the heart of what they do every single day and how they do it. But who are these people? Where are they from and why are they here?
A journey involving studies, experience, and a search for meaning
While some are renowned names in the field who were invited to join the group, others came of their own accord in search of new challenges, autonomy, a highly qualified team, and, above all, meaning.
They were chosen for their technical and interpersonal skills, as well as their breadth of experience.
They have completed studies in electricity, hydraulics, but also in customer service.
They have worked in fields as diverse as hospitals, plastics processing, food, and agriculture.
Our corporate mission and the quality of our employees is what ultimately won them over.
Ongoing in‑house training
Prodeval has an in‑house training program that provides all employees with a common foundation, but it also encourages them to ask questions and continuously learn from one another. The result is amazing team spirit and collaboration.
Accordingly, during the first three months manning the helpline, employees learn how to best meet the client’s needs. They also learn to listen to and guide clients according to a well‑defined procedure. Depending on their position, they are taught to use preventive management, diagnostic, or maintenance management software packages, which become effective toolkits for them.
During the training, those assigned to technical support are also taken to a site that is under construction to watch their peers in action. They get to see the facility, how it’s built, how it works, and where the monitoring and control devices are located. This gives them a much better sense and understanding of the space and its components once everything is up and running, and equips them with the vocabulary and skills for remotely guiding clients.
These employees quickly become autonomous, in large part because everyone is there for each other. If someone doesn’t know the answer to a question, they simply turn to their supervisor or another colleague. The aim is for information to be shared with all team members. And with everyone bringing their own professional and life experience into the picture, just imagine the wealth of combined knowledge and the team spirit that it fosters!
Allow me to add that the team is growing rapidly, with new hires regularly becoming integrated members. The practice of knowledge transfer helps them to become autonomous as quickly as possible. And the more this knowledge flows naturally from one generation of workers to another, the more enjoyable life is for all.
Information sharing within the team is crucial.
Clients—at the core of it all
A day in the life of a technical assistant depends on how many clients call and what their specific needs are. And since there are so many, every day is different, which is not a bad thing!
Clients who call for help can be very stressed, which is quite understandable. The important thing is to collect the right information and to reassure them by taking charge of the problem. Others may call for advice on how to carry out a particular task. Sometimes their operations are down and they simply need guidance.
No such thing as a typical day
So, technical assistants are there to respond to clients, guide them, support them, and reassure them when they are unable to perform maintenance works by themselves, which can happen if equipment is incorrectly set or operated, for example.
In the event of a breakdown, clients who are able to undertake the work themselves are guided through the steps; otherwise, a technician is dispatched to the site.
Everything is done remotely. That is, the assistants work mainly in front of their computers, with all their tools at their fingertips: machine design plans, electrical diagrams, tests carried out during commissioning, tables in which they can enter parameter readings for later analysis, etc.
They can access the entire facility from their screens, and can even change the settings remotely. However, to comply with safety standards, certain activities must be conducted onsite. In those cases, the clients become their eyes and arms, relaying information that will be very useful for finding the right solution. This type of support allows our assistants to respond quickly with help, identify the cause of the breakdown, document the event, and send someone over immediately, if necessary.
But since the clients are not specialized technicians, our assistants must of course find the right words and the right examples to make themselves understood. In the end, the emergency helpline ensures our clients never feel alone, and, more importantly, the training we offer ensures they are well equipped to operate their facility.
The after‑sales service technicians are split into two teams: one for the morning shift and one for the afternoon shift. They are on duty from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., after which there is a rotating schedule of “on‑call” technicians to handle emergencies. This ensures clients have 24/7 access to support services.
Client training: to maximize autonomy and minimize costs
The training provided to clients aims to promote maximum autonomy so they are able to run their facilities to the full limits of performance. We explain how the equipment works, the processes used, how to oversee operations, which critical points to monitor, and more.
If ever they are unsure of something, they simply call us for reassurance. But they must become as autonomous as possible.
“The less they call, the happier we are,” is a popular saying among our emergency helpline technicians. Their logic is simple: “When you own a car, you have to be able to drive it. It’s not only for the mechanic to enjoy!”
But as might be expected, our clients’ top priority is to run their farms and manage daily operations. As a result, they don’t always have time to personally take on other duties.
That’s the reason why maintenance contracts exist: They free clients from having to deal with issues that are too labour‑intensive and time‑consuming, such as the audits at 2,000, 4,000 or 8,000 hours post‑installation. Not only do they require a shutdown of activities, they also need to be conducted by people with sound technical knowledge, including knowing how to disassemble equipment, carry out certain checks, monitor the compliance of a component, and more.
Values, values, and more values
When these three colleagues joined the group, they all felt they needed to change their work environment, find meaning in their daily life, and be part of a mission.
A good working environment
We’ve already established that knowledge sharing is part of the company’s DNA. The same applies to sharing between departments. Alicia, who often needs to find information for clients, attests that the work environment truly is a positive one, that employees from the same department readily collaborate with one other, and that there is a great deal of interdepartmental communication. She also affirms that the big boss is a strong leader who makes each and every employee feel at ease.
A top‑quality mission
Not surprisingly, President Sébastien Paolozzi has always been capable of attracting new team members and maintaining their loyalty. He is often the driving force behind everything. His weekly President’s breakfasts with varying groups of employees help keep it all on track. People listen to his words, and make them their own. Money is always an incentive, but not the only end goal.
All our employees are working hard for their families and future generations, striving to protect the environment and keep our Earth healthy.