4 Steps to Becoming a Customer-Centric Industry Leader
Lessons from our Customer Innovator Awards finalists to help you stay focused on value to the customer.
While our finalists for the Customer Innovator Award at eyeforpharma Barcelona 2016 came from a diverse group of functions, we noticed that they shared a small group of complimentary talents. We’ve distilled this into four simple lessons to inspire you to take the next step and execute on your most audacious customer-centric ideas.
1: Leaders use political nous to get the best out of stakeholders
Thomas Martin, UCB Cares Manager at UCB achieved an 82% decrease in the number of days that patients had to wait for a product replacement by working with partners from Product Brand, Supply Chain, Legal, Compliance, Data Privacy, Procurement and Drug Safety.
Key to Martin’s success was a novel use of patient-centric project design. By changing the conversation from traditional practice, whereby departments start planning from an assessment of available resources, Martin focused on a single vision of what the patient needed. This proved a brilliant strategy to unite diverse perspectives. With a design process that evaluated decisions by what was best for the patient, Martin side-stepped a potentially divisive conversation on resource constraints and team politics, allowing him to focus on value to the customer.
2. Leaders don’t take shortcuts; they invest in doing the groundwork
When Liat Madnick, Einat Osztreicher Azuri and Galit Alkalay at Abbvie implemented an executive education program for 12 patient groups, they managed to achieve a staggering 92.8% attendance over the course of 9 seminars.
The reason patient groups showed up was because Madnick, Azuri and Alkalay took the time to personally engage each organization to understand their learning priorities before setting the seminar agenda. Once the program launched, they were also savvy enough to personalize each outreach, highlighting how each seminar would address specifically address organizational challenges.
3. Leaders find strength within weakness
Marianne Fraiture, Head of New Solution Development at UCB became inspired to try a hackathon to generate new service ideas for patients with epilepsy. Although common in other industries, it wasn’t an approach with precedence within pharma.
While Fraiture did not have a history of internal knowledge to draw on, she turned this to her advantage. Colleagues were excited to get involved in an innovative project, and by harnessing this enthusiasm, Fraiture managed to launch a transatlantic dual-city hackathon within just four months, with 125 participants from patients, family members, caregivers and digital experts.
Marianne’s message to other innovators is that you must find a delicate balance between structure and flexibility. With so many participants, stakeholders appreciate clear guidelines on what they were and weren’t needed for, while on the other hand, the program needed enough freedom to change direction in response to customer desires.
4. Leaders find new ways to excite and engage with the customer
Nominee Samantha Clark, Regional Business Manager at UCB realized that customers had become fatigued with the format of HCP meetings so challenged her team to develop a totally new approach. This inspired her group to launch ‘Redesigning Rheumatology', multi-disciplinary sessions that asked customers to brainstorm new solutions for Rheumatology patients. With HCPs bought in and contributing from the beginning, it also laid the foundation for the HCP-Pharma partnerships that would be needed to bring a new service model to life.
Siobhan Southam, the Communications Lead at AstraZeneca, was another innovator to experiment with new engagement models, in her work to design services for patients with gout. Southam partnered with Createhealth.io to implement a research program that crowdsourced insights through offline and online channels and was able to recruit panelists not typically reached by market research.
In addition to delivering insights, this approach brought unexpected benefits. Patients connected with each other and found support from others that shared their condition. Southam’s team were happily surprised to receive outreach from patients thanking them for starting this conversation.
We take these stories as compelling evidence that pharma’s executives have so many opportunities to improve the customer experience without compromising on profit. For leaders like Southam, these business objectives are just the baseline; there is always a way to deliver more value to the customer.
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