How BioTek Connects Its Field Teams From Anywhere

Servicing customers across the world requires rapid responses and constant communication. For BioTek Instruments, Inc., a global leader in the development, manufacture, and sale of microplate instrumentation and software, it’s also a crucial component of its business.

“Given the nature of our work, real-time access to resources and expertise when you need it most goes a long way in achieving and exceeding customer expectations,” said Sean Jordan, BioTek’s Service Director.

Despite that, BioTek field teams were still relying on a patchwork of communication tools (email, texting, consumer messaging apps) to connect on the move. Because everyone wasn’t on the same platform, however, these tools presented challenges with communicating in the moment. Additionally, many field teams (service, sales, etc.) were weighed down by email traffic because they don’t spend the majority of their day sitting at a desk. The high volume of email made it difficult to separate out the critical items from broader company information, newsletters or more general service updates.

Texting and phone calls while quick, were not always effective. Not everyone within the office used their phones for work, limiting the effectiveness of texting. In situations where a phone call was needed, you could be in the support center phone queue or the key person you needed was away from their phone. Jordan told us, “We wanted our field employees to be able to instantly tap into the knowledge and expertise of the team anytime, anywhere to help them get the job done.”

Discovering Zinc

While evaluating potential tools to enable instant communication in the field, Jordan discovered Zinc.

“Instead of needing different apps to text teammates or make a quick support call on site, we could do it all with one app,” he said. “This could save our field teams significant time on the job.”

Jordan began to introduce Zinc to a number of his field teams, who found the interface intuitive and adopted it quickly. Whether they were performing routine maintenance, delivering a customer training or working an install, teams were posting issues or questions they encountered and quickly getting a response to help accomplish the task at hand.

“The team loves the app because it’s fast and easy to use: it doesn’t require knowing someone’s mobile number and there is flexibility in how you communicate as it’s easy to move across text, voice or video,” he said. “We saw the potential for Zinc to really accelerate how we communicate and get things done in the field, while keeping our field employees connected no matter where they were located.”

The Solution: Instant support, whenever, wherever

BioTek created a main channel for service employees to troubleshoot issues that need immediate response, which Jordan likens to a “Bat Phone.” Instead of waiting on the support line to be transferred to the right person, you send out a message and immediately someone appears with an answer.

“It’s like you have the entire team behind you, rather than a single support engineer,” he said.

Zinc has been especially useful for connecting a global team across different time zones. When a BioTek employee is working late in California and needs an answer, they can post to Zinc instead of calling the East Coast help center, and get a solution in minutes from engineers in Seattle or Colorado. Colleagues are often willing to even help each other out after hours, since replying to a message on Zinc is so much easier than addressing a support ticket or a phone call.

Crowdsourcing solutions have also led to a significantly increased first-time fix rates for BioTek, which in term means happier customers who don’t have to wait a second day for their problem to be solved. Shorter response times also allow engineers to get more in-depth support for the most problematic issues.

“Zinc has helped our Field Service teams operationally in a variety of important ways: we can resolve critical issues faster, office based members of the service department can instantly communicate with the field thanks to desktop apps, and our service teams can quickly communicate and collaborate without having to switch between several apps,” Jordan said.

Today, BioTek teams use Zinc to get real-time support, accelerate repairs and maintenance with photo and video sharing, share company-wide alerts in the case of a power outage or emergency, and streamline channels for short or urgent messages.

“Zinc helps our service teams cut through the noise to make sure we get the job done,” Jordan said. “Zinc is concise, fast and easy communication.”