To gain a good understanding of the glamorous, and not-so-glamorous, tasks that this small-but-mighty team encounters each day, we surveyed the RSR team and received some very interesting responses. There are even a few helpful travel tips that you can use the next time you’re on the road:
Q: Tell me something that you love about your job as a regional service representative.
- As sappy as it sounds, there is no greater team of individuals to work with. Our team has the opportunity to see each other face to face about three times a year. The rest of the time, we communicate by phone and email. The team does an amazing job of “knowledge sharing” because it often will help a fellow RSR who may encounter a similar situation.
- Developing relationships with other laboratorians. Many of our clients struggle with the same issues. It is satisfying to provide insight and guidance to other facilities because we all have the same goal in mind—to help patients.
- Being the “face” of MML and a technical and educational resource for clients. We get to solve problems every day. Who doesn’t love helping make somebody’s day better?
Q: How big is your team of representatives? You cover the world with only how many staff members?
Domestically, we are broken into two units—East and West—with a total of 17 RSRs across the country. The size of each RSR’s territory varies; one RSR may cover only one state, and another may cover eight states. The number and size of the RSR’s client list play a factor in the territory size. Our RSR team is made up of laboratorians who came from many of our client sites or are former Rochester-based employees.
In addition, there are three RSRs who service the rest of the world. These talented individuals face challenges such as language barriers, varying degrees of technological and educational experiences, government regulations, and transportation hurdles to overcome. Empowering and educating clients to be self-sufficient when the RSR cannot be in every corner of the world at once is something that the international RSRs have mastered. Servicing clients from the opposite side of the world is quite the task, and the international RSRs have taken this challenge and done an amazing job.
Q: A large part of the RSR’s job is to travel, by car or plane, between client sites, spending the majority of the time away from a home office. Traveling between cities, eating in interesting restaurants, and swimming in the hotel pool after a long day sounds glamorous, right? What are some of the not-so-glamorous things that happen while you’re away from home?
- Not being there when my kids get hurt or sick, star in the school play, or score the winning goal in a soccer game. We can plan for some of these major events, but there will be some that get missed. We all feel the guilt of being away for these moments.
- Food poisoning, bed bugs, vehicle break-ins, lost luggage, and sleeping in a different place every night.
- Travel “hiccups.” They are bound to happen, and how we choose to react to them is what makes the difference in getting through them.
- Coming home to a house that looks like a tornado hit it.
- Staying healthy when you’re on the road. The probability of contracting a “nasty bug” is high, and there’s nothing worse than being sick while away from your own home.
- Missing the small everyday events that you may otherwise take for granted, such as impromptu coffee with friends, taking your family members (or dog) for a walk, and home-cooked meals.
- Missing those special “firsts” and having a “normal” schedule for workouts, staying connected with friends and family, doctor visits, and down time.
- Adjusting to time zone changes and jetlag when traveling internationally.
Q: What can you clear up for our readers about the sales and service process at MML?
- So many teams are involved in the sales process for MML, and the sales team could not do what they do without the tremendous support from the staff in Rochester. Everyone from the laboratory assistants, to the transportation team, to the client service representatives who answer the phones, to the consultants who create the tests. There are so many others that I can’t begin to list them all.
- The RSRs are just a small part of the sales process. They are the service “face” to the client, but take a walk around SDSC and Hilton, and every unit impacts our clients in some form.
Q: So, many of you travel more than 100 nights a year. How about some travel advice for our readers?
- Always travel with a refillable water bottle, non-perishable snacks, and ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Cash on hand, an extra change of clothes, and rain gear is a must as well.
- Never underestimate the importance of a good umbrella and stain remover.
- Safety first. Be aware of your environment. Try a room on a lower floor so you can more easily escape in case of fire or emergency.
- When using a taxi or Uber/Lyft, use your own GPS to ensure that you are on the correct path to your destination. It could cost you if you’re not.
- If you can, stay in the same hotel brand—they typically have the same type of beds and pillows to help your stay feel more “normal” as you travel from place to place.
- Facetime, Skype, and sending photos are great ways to stay connected with your family and friends when you’re away. But, be sure to turn off your electronic devices to allow enough downtime to fall asleep.