Friday, July 8, 2016

So What Do You Do For Work?

For several years I have struggled with a very specific problem when meeting new people.  The problem is how to effectively answer the inevitable question: So what do you for work?

I struggle answering this because my standard answer of “I work with a great group of people in the Service Department at BioTek Instruments” just doesn’t do justice to the pride I have in all the things that my colleagues accomplish every week.

Typically after I provide my answer I don’t get a follow up about service.  I do receive an inquiry for more information about BioTek the company and I do have a good response about the innovative instruments we manufacture at BioTek.  I understand why people rarely ask about Service.  When anyone hears Service, the perception comes to mind of a call center where someone takes notes about a problem and then dispatches a technician to drive out and fix the broken product. 

Since I work in the Service Department, I desperately want to share the dynamic nature of service and how well my colleagues support customers and each other.  However all of this information might be a bit much for the unsuspecting stranger.  I could dangerously be that guy.  You know, the one who is asked what time it is and responds with how to make a watch. 

Well I thought this would be a good opportunity to share the short version of what is bouncing around in my head, dying to get out while I utter the words “I work with a great group of people in the Service Department at BioTek Instruments”.

Like most people, I dread calling technical support due to the maze of automated responses to find a real human voice.  When I get to the end of the maze, that human voice usually doesn’t resolve my issue in the timely fashion.  At BioTek there is no maze. Phone calls and emails are directly answered by engineers and scientists stationed at BioTek's headquarters.  We provide the most effective way to solve a problem by having experts directly accessible to the customer.  Most of the problems they solve are helping customers with their instrument settings, software parameters or research process so the pace of break-through science can take place at laboratories all over the world.  Oh, and if by chance this team doesn’t know the answer, within about 500 feet of their desks are BioTek’s: Senior Service Engineers, Application Scientists and R&D Engineers.  So when a scientist who is looking for a better way to improve cancer treatment calls us about his instrument settings, we take care of it.

I am just getting started about the world of BioTek Service.  We have scientists and engineers around the world responsible for installing products at the laboratory and then training the scientists using the products.  This team will also qualify the products, provide service maintenance and even complete the infrequent repair if needed.  They travel by plane, car, train and even bicycle to customer sites.  Some of our best service representatives work at service centers at various international locations. Every team has specialized gear to make sure the products perform at factory specifications.  If any team ever has a problem, they have direct contact to the experts back at headquarters.

Every Service representative doesn’t just start working with customers from day one on their own.  BioTek’s Service Department has an infrastructure committed to supporting the mission of world class service.  Service Engineers work with BioTek Product Development teams to enhance product design to ensure serviceability and reliability.  We also have a dedicated team of technical writers in the Service Department focused on creating thorough and up to date technical documentation for our team.  A great Service Manual is the most valuable tool a service representative can have.

When parts are needed, we make sure we get it on time.  Our team works with the warehouse and manufacturing so we can get the part built and shipped on time anywhere in the world. 

All of this activity and success relies heavily on training.  Due to BioTek’s investment in innovation, multiple new products are released every year, as well as improvements to existing products.  This requires BioTek’s service experts to train fellow service representatives all around the world. 

Training is a constant activity for our Service team.  We bring our technical experts, products and tools across the globe as well as host training sessions back at our headquarters.  This significant investment in training is critical to our success.  As I write this, our gear that was shipped from Vermont to Barcelona, Spain for training last week, is on its way to Seoul, South Korea for our next training event.  I expect everything will arrive back in Vermont just in time for the next training.

Barcelona Service Training
Training goes beyond enhancing the knowledge and skill of our teams so we can resolve customer requests effectively.  Training brings together representatives from all over the globe, building a healthy, diverse community of professionals that support each other whenever they have chance. 

Well, I can certainly keep going on but I promised a short version.  Besides, I think need to get back to work with those great group of people in the Service Department.

By: BioTek Instruments, Sean Jordan, Service Director

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