One of my many functions at Cherwell Laboratories is to be the first point of contact for all distributor enquiries. As mentioned in previous press releases we have enjoyed a significant increase in sales of Redipor® prepared media over the last few years to mainland Europe and South Korea. This is due in no small part to our distributors working very hard to establish the Redipor® brand in their territories and the high quality of the media sold. My job is to offer technical advice on choosing the appropriate product to offer to their customers, to ensure regular feedback on sales opportunities and to understand the nuances of media sales in their territories. I have found the best way to do that is to join members of our distributors sales teams on customer visits.
My most recent adventure was to visit our distributor in Poland, Sterbios Sp. z.o.o. A bit of a tactical error in my part, I booked my flight and hotel quite far in advance. Error number one was to choose a hotel without air-conditioned rooms (it was over 30°C when I was there), error number two was flying into Warsaw, as the customer visit was to the town of Starogard Gdanski in northern Poland, about an hour south of Gdansk, which is regularly served by flights from the UK. This meant a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Warsaw to Starogard. We (Ola, Pharma Specialist from Sterbios and I) left Warsaw quite early and arranged to meet Hania, the Sterbios Sales Specialist for that region, for lunch before the meeting at their customer. The place we met was certainly different…
Just a few kilometres away from our destination, we visited a reconstructed medieval fort called Grodzisko Owidz. Although I cannot read Polish, it is based on a fort that was built in the year 1049. In the centre of the fort was a small village with wooden houses around a central fire. Each house was furnished according to the status of the people living in them. For example, peasant’s houses had pretty much no furniture, sleeping on straw with animal skin (fur) blankets. Those with more money had more home comforts such as beds with linen and blankets, tables, chairs and other décor akin to their status. Within the fort was an archery range, vegetable patches and pens for farm animals. A fascinating visit, followed by lunch where the menu was in “Old Polish”. Even my hosts were struggling to interpret the menu!
I have been very lucky through the years to get some spare time sightseeing in the cities I have visited through this job and this visit was particularly good fun. I should say my customer visit was very productive, although it was long journey for a 45-minute meeting! Visits like these allow me to build a good rapport with our distributors. You really cannot beat a face to face meeting and spending time with them talking about a range of subjects, both work related and personal. Outstanding customer service is at the heart of the Cherwell Laboratories business model and I am very happy to play my part in delivering that.