Sales and Service, Technically Speaking

Monica Baik, technical sales specialist, taught herself the technical knowledge needed to research merchandise for the Computer Store & Service Center.
Posted 12/02/05
Q: How many years have you worked at Wesleyan as a technical sales specialist?

I’ve been with Wesleyan for five years, four of those as the technical sales specialist. Before that I worked for a year as an administrative assistant in Finance and Administration.

Q: What is the purpose of the Computer Store & Service Center and who does the store service?

A: The Computer Store & Service Center is here to provide technical products and services to the Wesleyan community. We offer computers and accessories for sale, as well as computer repair services. It’s actually a three-tier system. I research merchandise for the store and for the Wesleyan community; the students operate the store front; and the technicians repair the machines.

Q: Are you more at the sales-end of things, or are you interested in the hardware/software as well?

A: I’m on the purchasing end, which includes hardware, software and everything in between.

Q: How did you acquire your technical expertise?

A: My computer and software skills are self-taught. I bought my first computer in 1992 and just began poking around. The hardware technical skills are from having a natural curiosity about how things operate and listening to the service technicians.

Q: What is the hottest item for sale in the Computer Store?

A: The hottest item we sell, and the most popular, is the Apple iPod. Everybody wants one! We have the newest in stock now, which are the 30GB and 60GB video iPods.

Q: What are the most common questions people ask you?

A: On the research and purchasing end of things, people generally ask me about availability and price of an item they’re searching for. In the store, people generally ask the students about headphones and Microsoft Office.

Q: What is the best part about working in the Computer Store? Is your job challenging?

A: I enjoy being able to help people find what they’re searching for and at a price that is competitive with, or better than, area retailers. We serve such a diversified customer base that every day brings a different challenge.

Q: What are your job duties as a technical sales specialist?

A: My responsibilities include listening to members of the Wesleyan community to determine their needs, performing merchandise research, processing purchase orders, maintaining accounts payable, reconciling daily accounts and deposits, acting as vendor liaison and providing administrative support for the store manager.

Q: How do you spend most of your day?

A: The majority of my time is spent researching merchandise for the Wesleyan community. Faculty, staff and students e-mail or call me with requests for specific software or equipment. I use my vendor contacts and various Internet search engines to locate what they need. The next biggest part of my day is processing invoices and keeping the accounts payable up-to-date. I’m actually only behind the counter when the students aren’t available.

Q: What did you major in?

A: I received my bachelor’s of business administration from Tiffin University in 1998. I will receive my master’s of arts in liberal studies from Wesleyan in May 2006.

Q: Who are the key people that work in the store with you?

A: We currently have two students, Matt and Earle, working the store counter; one temp, Ginny, who answers the phone and files; three full-time computer technicians, Bob Elsinger, Glenn Carlson and Scott Michael who service the computers; and the store manager, Allen Alonzo.

Q: If a department hires a new employee, would someone there contact you to get a system set up for that new employee?

A: Yes, most of the computer sales for Wesleyan are through us. When a new hire is scheduled, the desktop support personnel for that department will order a computer from us. The technicians put the Wesleyan “capital” image on the computer, which consists of standard software used campus-wide.

Q: Do you personally use a Mac or PC? Are you a high-tech-junkie?

A: I used to have a Windows computer, but since working here, I’ve switched to a 20-inch iMac. I have a 60GB iPod, which holds my entire music collection, as well as audio books and photos. Since I’m anxiously waiting for a larger iPod, I guess you could say I’m a high-tech-junkie!

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I’m an avid reader and writer, always carrying a book or notebook wherever I go. I’m currently working on a book of short stories. I also enjoy crocheting baby afghans and bonnets for hospitals.

Q: Tell me about your family.

A: I’m married to Brian, a transportation planner for Bradley International Airport. I have two sons. Bryan, 20, is also a high-tech fan, who lives and works in Ohio. Matthew, 17, attends Middletown High School and volunteers in the animal lab here at Wesleyan. We’re all movie buffs and have a pretty extensive DVD collection.

Q: What would you say is the most unique thing about you?

A: I have a need to please! As the middle daughter of six children, I’ve always been the negotiator, advisor or mediator who smoothes ruffled feathers. People seem to recognize that I’ll listen and help when I can.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor