Tell us about managing Merit Medical’s Customer Service for all of Europe, Middle East and Africa: I manage Merit Medical’s customer service for our distributors, direct customers (hospitals) as well as the tender department for all of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEA). When I started (on November 3, 2008), there were three of us in the Distributor Customer Service department for EMEA and approximately 20 people at our facility. Over the past 7 years the number of employees increased to just over 60 people and I now manage 24 customer service employees, soon to be 25 before the end of this year!
I work from our European Headquarters in beautiful Maastricht in the very southern region of The Netherlands on the border of Belgium and Germany.
Tolerance is Key for EMEA Customer Service: The biggest (and most rewarding) challenge for our EMEA Customer Service team is working with 75 countries that speak 12 different languages. This includes 14 countries that sell direct to hospitals and 61 distributor countries. Our team services 1,830 external customers and 75 Merit EMEA sales representatives! Our team speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Russian, English, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish and Italian and at all times we need to make sure that someone who speaks that language is available to speak with customers calling in.
Tolerance is a very important trait to have when you work in EMEA customer service because we must be familiar with and sensitive to so many different cultures. So I’m sensitive to having a team with a good vibe and I look for people who can maintain a sense of humor while managing so many customers and nationalities.
On why it’s all important to Michelle: I once had a job opportunity to work for a company in a different industry. It didn’t feel important to me – medical devices save lives, they are important and that’s why I love this industry. This was confirmed recently when my husband David suddenly had a heart attack at age 39. Products like the ones that Merit manufactures saved his life. We got married this past weekend after 15 years of being together. I would trust Merit products to go into my husband’s body – I know that we make the highest quality and we do everything we can to produce the best we can.
What about Merit do you enjoy: Merit has a family feeling, it’s like a second home. The people in this company give you that second family feeling. And Customer Service feels to me like the center of everything. We provide all of the information to planning so they can ensure products ship on time, to finance, to logistics, to regulatory, to marketing, to the customer, internally and externally. To them we are the face of Merit.
I have especially enjoyed working with Justin Lampropoulos – he helped me move up from distributor customer service representative to my current position as Customer Service Manager for EMEA. He has motivated me all along the way. His vision for Merit to be the most customer-focused company has been my mantra for our EMEA customer service team – give every country what they need – do anything and everything we can for the customer. That’s what makes Merit very unique in our industry.
After work: On the weekends I love to take my two daughters horseback riding. Yadira is 11 and Yuna is 8. Horses really help me to destress from the week and it’s an activity we love doing together.