Let's take this as an opportunity to look back at EXTEDO's history. In the last 25 years, we developed from a small department within IABG to a market leader in regulatory information management with about 120 employees and 850 customers in 60 countries. And, we are very proud of our excellent relationship with our customers.
But we do not want to bore you with numbers. In this article, we would like to tell you few funny or interesting stories, which are just a few examples of why we at EXTEDO love working with our customers.
Telephone calls at 3 in the morning
Giving "Hyper Care Support" to customer M, I occasionally got phone calls from M during the week at 3 am. Sometimes I was drowsily explaining product features. Sometimes I had to wake up my colleagues Vish or Max, and we had fantastic sessions together with M, mainly fixing the problem. That was so special, and we still joke about it today, even though it must have been about four years ago. M often says to me after a meeting, "then we'll hear you again tonight, we'll call". Of course, these are not our regular working hours, but in some exceptional cases, we are happy to support our customers around the clock and it is great to have clients from all over the globe.
After an appointment with a customer in Paris, my return flight was cancelled due to a strike. My hotel was fully booked, I could not keep my room, and all hotels nearby were full as well. I was already afraid of having to sleep under the bridge. Then one of the participants offered me a place to sleep on his couch. I found that incredibly lovely, so we exchanged numbers. Luckily, I could fly home somehow with another line via Nuremberg, but I thought it was so amicable that we were even offered a place to sleep when it mattered.
Can you hear me?
In 2005, we were early adopters with VoIP and suffered from unreachable extensions, no number transfer, disconnections, etc., for some time until we switched back to a standard phone line. Then everything was back to normal and as expected.
Now, 16 years later, we are working from home for more than one year. We are back on VoIP with Teams and are experiencing a small part of it again, just with video. When somebody asks the famous "can you hear me?" question, it reminds us of when this technology was new to us. Luckily, most of the time, it works pretty well.
Supply of wine
At an EXTEDO eRA conference in Munich, we returned to the hotel after a fantastic evening event, a boat trip on Lake Starnberg. Many of the participants directly went to the hotel bar, but it closed down too early. As always, all nighthawks were sad and disappointed. Then a customer whispered in my ear, "Maren, I still have two bottles of wine in my suitcase. I'll get them now". He was our hero and we could enjoy this marvelous evening a bit longer.
Training participant falls asleep
At my very first eCTDmanager training, I was very nervous anyway. My colleague Sven supported me at that time, and I took over small parts of the plan. Suddenly I realized that one participant fell asleep. I was afraid that my presentation was too boring, so I was a bit confused. Sven explained to me afterward that this person was "just" the organizer and had seen this training five times already. Hence, it was not my fault and thanks to the very positive feedback I received from the customer I did no longer feel I had to be more entertaining during my trainings.
Recently I had an online demo, all participants using their cameras. One of the participants had a small dog in the background that seemed tense. Then he suddenly found his master in the upper arm to pinch and bite. The customer then said, "my dog does not like it when I talk to the computer," and then explained that it happens all day. Finally, we went through the demo and just ignored the growling little dog. Despite all the negative aspects of the pandemic, it is nice to have some private touch in the video calls with customers now. Whether there are hungry children in the background, a cuddly cat walking over the desk, or a biting dog, we love it.
A Very Special Medicinal Product
Our customers cover an extensive range of pharmaceutical products, which all need to be registered with the regulatory authorities. However, early this year, we got a customer with an entirely different product, which was new for us: an animal, which sucks blood and often comes from Romania.
Bite, suck, heal: The kiss of a leech has it all.
We are not talking about vampires. Our customer “Biebertaler Blutegelzucht” breeds leeches, which have to be registered as pharmaceutical drugs. A therapy using leeches is among the oldest treatments in medical history. A leech’s bite usually does not hurt. It takes 30-90 minutes, and the animal’s saliva contains over 100 active substances, which act anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, stimulate the immune system, foster lymphatic drainage, and even have an anti-ageing effect. Leeches can drink a portion of blood 5-times their body weight and live from this dish for up to two years.
Before they are ready for therapy, they have to go into quarantine for eight months. They are used for treatment only once, after which they have to be discarded or sent back to an approved site to live the rest of their lives in a protected pond for retired leeches. They can live for more than 20 years.
Thanks to Biebertaler Blutegelzucht for supporting us with this story, we were so excited about what they are doing, and they even invited us for a visit to show us the company. It is fantastic to have such lovely customers.
These are just a few stories of our daily work at EXTEDO. Thank you to our colleagues Maren, Andreas, and Katja for sharing their stories. And thank you to all of our customers for the last 25 years!