Study on Tech Support

j.evans at scienceboard.net j.evans at scienceboard.net
Mon Jul 27 14:55:05 EST 1998

Several weeks ago, I posted an announcement regarding a new study by The
Science Advisory Board (http://www.scienceboard.net).  The topic being
considered by the Board is the quality of customer service and technical
support from life science vendors.  Although the 27-question survey has
been completed by nearly 700 scientists around the world, new
participants are most welcome!  The Science Advisory Board is an online
panel of more than 3,600 scientists, physicians and other medical
professionals from 66 countries.  If you would like to participate in
this, or future studies, please complete the Research Panel registration
form which can be found at http://www.scienceboard.net and you be
notified of your eligibility within 48 hours.  Your identity and
individual responses are always held in strict confidence, and
participants are compensated for their time.

Although it is still very early in our investigation, and the responses
to many questions have yet to be analyzed, some of the initial data is
quite interesting.  Below are some excerpts from the responses received
so far:

If you were to order a product directly from a vendor, in which way
would you MOST prefer to do so?

Telephone (42.0%)
Email (21.1%)
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) (0.6%)
Fax (10.9%)
Mail (1.9%)
Web site (23.5%)

For which of the following reasons do you MOST OFTEN have to call the
Customer Service department of a life science vendor?

Product did not arrive when promised (58.8%)
Wrong product delivered (13.4%)
Wrong quantity delivered (3.4%)
Perishable product arrived after expiration date (3.0%)
Product arrived damaged/non-functional (19.8)
Invoice is higher than the price that was originally quoted (1.5%)

When you encounter a problem with a life science product to which source
of assistance do you turn FIRST?

Vendor (18.8%)
Colleague or co-worker (21.7%)
Local sales representative (5.6%)
Literature references (e.g., journal article) (1.5%)
Vendor catalog (e.g., technical tips, troubleshooting section) (7.7%)
Vendor newsletter (0.2%)
Printed manual or protocol included with the product (40.9%)
Vendor Web site (3.4%)

What is the MOST frequent cause of the problems that require you to call
technical support?

Product was of poor quality (11.4%)
Product was inappropriate for the application (6.0%)
Unfamiliarity with the product (31.4%)
Accidental error by lab personnel (0.6%)
Poorly written instructions/protocols (37.6%)
Lack of on-site installation assistance/training (6.5%)
Other (6.5%)
If you have any questions regarding this study, or about membership on
The Science Advisory Board, please do not hesitate to contact me
directly, or stop by the Board’s Website!

Joan Evans
Membership Secretary
The Science Advisory Board

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