Users turn condition into mission

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DAVENPORT, Wash. – When provider Doug Nachtigal decided that he wanted to hire an outside sales rep, he knew he wanted someone who, like him, was a wheelchair user.

“My wife, Robin, and I wanted someone in a chair, because wheelchair users have insight into the questions customers may have,” said Nachtigal, CEO and president of Rocklyn Medical Supply.

The Nachtigals found what they were looking for in Tammy Wilber, who was paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident in 1993. They hired the 33-year-old Wilber, the former marketing manager/disability liaison for a manufacturer of postural support systems, as their Northwest sales rep in June.

Before hiring Wilber, Nachtigal was a sales team of one.

Becoming a bigger company  means Rocklyn Medical can provide services to as many people as possible—“We feel we’re better at it than XYZ Medical,” Nachtigal said. It also means economies of scale, which will help Rocklyn Medical better maneuver reimbursement and policy changes.

One thing it doesn’t mean: Rocklyn Medical losing its focus on top-notch customer service, Nachtigal said.

“There’s always a live body answering the phone, even if it costs a little more,” he said. “If you have a disability, going through prompts in an automated system is difficult and frustrating.”

For a smaller company, Rocklyn Medical has a larger customer service staff of 12.

“I always try to have a passion and purpose behind what I do, and I’m excited about this,” said Wilber, a former Ms. Wheelchair Washington. “I like what Rocklyn stands for.” hme