Supporting Science: A Q&A with Coriell’s Customer Service Team Leader

Amber Bush

Coriell’s online catalog allows scientists to browse its enormous, diverse collection of biological samples and products of many kinds. But when an order is placed, it receives a human touch from the time the order button is pressed to the time a sample is packed up and out of the door. Many at Coriell are involved, but perhaps no team is more important to the process than Coriell’s Customer Service Department.

This group makes sure all customers are qualified to order samples, they work with Coriell’s various labs to manage inventory, they organize shipping, they support customers after a sample or product is received, and much more.

Amber Bush serves as Team Lead of the Customer Service Department and answered a few questions about her team and its role at Coriell.

What is role of customer service at Coriell?

We really do it all. We process customer orders placed through our online catalog in a timely manner. This includes reviewing and approving orders, scheduling orders for shipment, and handling documentation needed for our labs.

We also approve customer accounts (we make sure the customers ordering from us are authorized to do so) and help customers with those accounts when needed.

And when customers have questions about the samples or products they receive, we field those questions too. We can answer most questions that we come across, but we will reach out to our scientific staff if needed.

What is a day in your life at Coriell like?

Our day starts with reviewing our inbox. Most communication with customers happens via email, so we first tackle those and answer any questions or address any concerns.

Once the inbox is back to zero, we begin processing the orders in our database. We review them, tell the labs which samples to recover, and we schedule shipments for orders and assemble the needed paperwork.

We ship only on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays to make sure samples aren’t delayed over a weekend, and, on these days, we send customers receiving products the relevant tracking information and invoicing.

On top of this, we also assist the various teams at Coriell as needed. 

Coriell has customers around the world. How does your team accommodate that?

We take pride in our knowledge regarding shipping internationally, such as a thorough understanding of country specific permits and restrictions. We are dedicated to working with couriers to ensure customers are able to receive their parcels and that the importation process runs smoothly, as our samples are precious materials.

What might surprise a customer about our customer service department? 

We are not your typical customer service team. Not only do we answer phone calls and emails, but we’re experts in shipping and providing support for the many types of scientific products Coriell offers.

Customers might be surprised just how much of the process our department is involved in. We are really a part of each step from the time a customer places an order to when it gets shipped out. This includes: 

  • Reviewing and approving customer accounts
  • Reviewing and processing orders, making sure the customer has the appropriate paperwork and permits in place before we ship the order
  • Scheduling orders for shipment (Cell lines are shipped on Mondays, domestic frozen orders on Tuesdays, and DNA is shipped on Mondays and Wednesdays)
  • Assembling the shipping documentation which includes a packing slip and instructions on how to handle the samples once received
  • Sending tracking information and invoicing customers 
  • Support for any questions a customer may have after receiving their order

What else should Coriell’s customers know?

We love what we do! We’re honored that we can assist members of the international scientific community with our samples by ensuring we process their orders efficiently and are always available to help if an issue does arise.

And we'd like our customers to understand that ordering from Coriell is different than ordering from a traditional online retailer. There is a member of my team on this end of every email they receive from Coriell. We take the time to make sure regulatory and IATA guidelines are followed and that the samples we send are high quality. While we may not offer two-day shipping, we move orders out of the door as quickly and safely as possible while meeting our high standards.

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