Title: National Plant Germplasm System: Critical Role of Customer Service Author
Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 23, 2010
Publication Date: October 31, 2010
Citation: Pederson, G.A. 2010. National Plant Germplasm System: Critical Role of Customer Service. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Oct. 2010. Technical Abstract: The National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) conserves plant genetic resources, not only for use by future generations, but for immediate use by scientists and educators around the world. With a great deal of interaction between genebank curators and users of plant genetic resources, customer service should be a critical component of effective genebank operations. In the world of private industry, keeping the customer satisfied is critical. Companies train employees continually and record measures of customer satisfaction to achieve desired results. The NPGS is similar to a private company with products (plant genetic resources) and information about those products that are provided upon request to customers (scientists and educators). When the customer cannot find the right product or information or receives a poor quality product, dissatisfaction arises. NPGS personnel need to realize that, like a private company, customer satisfaction is integral to their operation. Long-term conservation needs can be met by base collection storage at Ft. Collins and Svalbard. Active collections rely on day-to-day interactions with scientists and educators that can only be met by curators with detailed knowledge of their plant genetic resource collections. The NPGS is comprised of scientific personnel who often have no background in customer service. Little emphasis has been placed on customer service in training activities, performance evaluations, project plans, and other measures of genebank activities. Recent training at the 3rd Curators Workshop and circulation of a customer service training video to several NPGS locations are positive steps in emphasizing the importance of customer service in all NPGS activities.