Get to know Darin Thornton, Customer Service Representative

Even when your laser machine is running smoothly, having consumable parts on hand makes life a lot easier if a malfunction occurs. To help, Mazak maintains $16 million of inventory within our spare parts department in Elgin, Illinois. Not only does Mazak have a vast amount of parts, we also have a dedicated staff that achieves a 98 percent same day shipping. Our in-house experts can help get you the right parts needed for your laser. One of the experts behind the call is Darin Thornton. Darin’s friendliness and ample experience in customer service makes him a valuable asset to Mazak’s parts customer service team.

Darin is a Customer Service Representative for the parts department and has been with Mazak Optonics since 2014. “Darin has worn many different hats during his time at Mazak. This extensive experience allows him to truly understand our customers' situations and instinctively react to find a resolution. Along with his professionalism, Darin is a valued member of the Parts Customer Service Group and the Mazak family,” stated Joe Hagee, Parts Department Customer Service Supervisor.

Learn more about Darin through this quick Q&A session.

Quick Q&A with Darin Thornton

What is your background involving customer service and laser technology?

“I have worked in customer service and inventory roles my whole life. My previous experience in these roles has made me the perfect fit for my current position now as a Customer Service Representative for the parts department. It combines customer service with understanding parts inventory management.”

“Being in customer service, I also work closely with our service team, more specifically our technical support team. I typically refer to them in order to better assist our customers. When I’m working with technical support, it also helps me learn more about our laser-cutting machines and even understanding some troubleshooting. Granted, I don’t do any troubleshooting, that’s for our technical support staff.  Regardless, it’s nice to have that knowledge to better understand what the customer’s situation is. Becoming familiar with our machines and the fabrication industry allows me to be prepared for helping future customers.”

What is your current role at Mazak?

“I’ve been able to work my way up at Mazak to get to my current role. I originally started as a Picker Packer back in 2014. Then in April of 2015, I was promoted to a newly created position as the Shipping and Receiving Coordinator. Since November of 2015, I have been in my current role as a Customer Service Representative for our parts department.”

“I assist customers with getting parts ordered that they need for their laser. Customers call and are looking for pricing and availability for required parts. Technical support helps the customer troubleshoot and can verify the correct part needed. Once a technical support engineer verifies the part number, then I can move forward with placing the order. When placing an order, I will review our stock to see where the required part is located, whether it be here, in at Mazak Optonics, or in Japan. After that determination is made, I am able to give the customer an estimated time frame on when they will receive it as well as pricing information.”

What is your definition of great customer service?

“Great customer service is not only making sure the issue is resolved, but that the customer is satisfied with the results. You want to make them feel welcome and comfortable explaining what they need assistance with. I always strive to make them feel valued and that they aren’t just another number. We want to assist and inform the customers to the best of our abilities.”

“My favorite aspect of working in customer service is knowing that I was able to help.  I know it sounds cheesy but it’s the truth. It’s really great knowing you are helping customers with a challenge that they were experiencing and having them appreciate your assistance in return is an awesome feeling.”

What are your hobbies and interest?

“Currently, I am training in jiu-jitsu, judo, and kickboxing. I played a lot of sports when I was younger, like basketball, football, track, basically everything. Doing jiu-jitsu, judo, and kickboxing is something new and unique for me to do. My brother-in-law is the reason why I got started with taking on these niche sports. He, his wife, and three kids were already going to jiu-jitsu classes. Their gym had a raffle going on to win a week of free classes for you and a friend, and he entered me into the raffle without telling me. He ended up winning, which gave me a week of free classes to use. At the time I was starting to look for a martial arts gym, so it was perfect timing. After going to my first class, I worked up a sweat and thought this would be really cool to get into. I most typically train in jiu-jitsu. It’s been great doing jiu-jitsu since it builds a sense of community rather than going to a regular gym.”

“On November 23, 2019, I took on a new hobby as well, parenting. Ever since my son Dezmond was born, it’s been so surreal. I’ve always said that I wanted to have kids, but I never expected to be a dad one day. You don’t really appreciate parenting and know what it’s like until you go through it. The transition to caring about a new life that isn’t just yours is amazing. Every time I walk in the door, I’m so excited to see him and he’s so excited to see me. Dezmond has made me so happy and I wouldn’t trade being a dad for anything in the world.”

What is your favorite day of the week?

“My favorite day of the week is definitely Friday. Back before my wife, Lindsey, and I had Dezmond we would always kick off the weekend by going out to eat and hanging out just the two of us. But now, it’s family time. Coming home and being able to relax with my family is the best. My wife, son, and in-laws all spend time together on Friday nights. We either cook a meal together and watch shows and movies or we all go out to eat. Knowing I’m able to hang out with my son all weekend is the best. I love just being able to bond with him and the rest of my family. That’s why I’m always looking forward to Fridays.”

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