Have you ever called a scientific company to ask them how to use a particular product, or which product would best suit your particular needs? Has anyone ever visited your lab to repair or upgrade a piece of scientific instrumentation? The professionals who take care of these issues provide the technical support (information about how to use products) and technical service (maintenance and repair of instrumentation and equipment) that keep scientific laboratories running smoothly. These are the people to whom scientific researchers turn when they need help.
Both technical support and technical service require an in-depth knowledge of a particular class of products, and how they should, and should not be, used. These types of positions may also be called application scientists, since they deal with practical applications of the company’s products.
Typical Job Duties
- Respond to customer inquiries on proper use of your company’s products, and the differences between products.
- Develop and deliver training materials and classes for both customers and sales scientists.
- Travel to customer’s sites to install, maintain, diagnose and repair instrumentation.
- Provide feedback to product managers about product usage and possible enhancements.
- Document preventative maintenance (PM) and repairs, and develop schedules for PM.
- Repair instruments that have been returned to the manufacturer.
- Advanced listening, analysis, and problem-solving skills.
- For technical service, manual dexterity and the ability to work with your hands to fix mechanical systems may be required.
- Interpersonal skills to build relationships with customers and deal diplomatically with complaints. This requires patience, sympathy and respect.
- Ability to prioritize and manage multiple simultaneous issues from different customers.
- Attention to detail.
Technical support is a great entry-level position. Some technical support positions will require previous experience with using the company’s products, however companies provide extensive training to technical service employees. From there, many scientists move into technical sales, product management, business development, or marketing.
Original content at acs.org