Ventana Medical Systems, a biomedical instrument and reagent manufacturer, in Tucson, maintains an online customer database that alerts service reps to a customer's history and current issue resolution status.

The database program saves valuable time for Ventana and its customers. It also sends a message to customers that the company is actively working to solve their problems. "We get lots of good feedback on our efficiency in resolving problems," says Mary Bradley, customer-service supervisor.

Problems in the biomedical-manufacturing industry tend to be complex ones requiring an extended resolution period. Some of Ventana's 1,000 customers like to participate in the search for a solution, while others prefer to wait until the company generates one. Ventana uses the database to code each customer's problem by subject. Those who wish to participate in the solution can be put in touch with each other to form a problem-resolution network. When a solution is found, the customers who were waiting for it can be contacted quickly.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing