To Deliver the Best Customer Experience, Learn to Collaborate

A new generation of innovators and business leaders in life sciences is bringing more openness to conversations. As digital natives, they’re used to freely discussing personal ideas and experiences on platforms like WeChat, Twitter, or Snapchat, and they want to talk about work in the same way. I use Clubhouse with counterparts at other pharmaceutical companies to learn about best practices for improving customer experience, through better engagements and meaningful interactions with personalized digital content, for example.

There are clear rules for this free speech zone of course. It’s not about revealing trade secrets or releasing study results before publication or even talking about our products. We come together to talk about how diversity and inclusion foster better CX, how we can be more creative by taking smart risks and rewarding falling, and by sharing best practices, personal experiences, and challenges openly. In the group, we help and inspire each other to make healthcare a better place, where everyone collaborates successfully to deliver the expected patient benefits.

Solving things together

The creation of our Clubhouse group was a bit of serendipity. There were people who knew each other and knew they had the same problems. Instead of trying to solve them separately, we began to talk together about possible solutions and try them out. Opening this free space was a fantastic experience as we were rapidly joined by many others, attracted to this unique place.

The group has a very flexible structure, but a core team of leaders, and it has spun off in-person meetings and projects. We also invite and involve partners like Veeva who can help us ideate, advocate, and implement HCP- and patient-oriented solutions; we need this to not remain at the polite chat and slideware level. We wanted, from the beginning, to be sure that we could land on something that people could feel, use, and love in real life.

Pharma isn’t used to this kind of collaboration, so sometimes others in our companies or outside of them wonder what we are doing. But collaboration is helping us to move faster and avoid dead ends, which helps our companies, our customers, and their patients.

Talking to patients and HCPs

We care about improving the experience for both the physician and the patient to make sure that when they get together it’s a great experience for both. One complication in Europe is that here we’re only allowed to talk to the physicians, not the patients. On the other hand, it is a blessing as it means we need to help the HCP to fully understand what we propose and choose what he or she thinks is relevant for the patient. We work to give them the medical- and product-related content they need, and very often request, to be even better professionals, and we provide this in the format they want and through the channel they prefer so they can consume it when they want to.

The life sciences customer experience is not the same everywhere. You cannot provide the same content and experience to a German healthcare professional (HCP) and a French HCP. Local medical guidelines and practices, culture norms and communication styles, and local policies matter, and when you create content, you need to take this into account and focus on what good looks like for each specific customer.

Some companies or business areas are better at creating customer experiences than others. Pharma may not be delivering the same kind of experiences as a Virgin Atlantic, for example, but we are clearly on the way to improving the terrible, awful experiences we provided in the last 20 years. We’re taking steps to make the content available for pull rather than push—delivering the right content at the right time—because we can already see that, when we do, the positive reaction is huge: HCPs ask for more content.

Ask the right questions

Do not be afraid to collaborate with your peers and listen to your customers. When people ask me how to do that, I tell them, go out in the field and talk to your customers. Ask what they need and how you can make their life easier. Stop thinking that you need to push a generic message into their brain; that’s not the way it works any more, if it ever worked in fact. If you want to deliver a good customer experience or a great digital experience, you need to go to the receiving end and ask: What does good look like?

For more on Florent Edouard’s view of how collaboration can improve the customer experience, read this Q&A.

The elements presented here are the views and opinions of Florent Edouard, and do not necessarily represent those of Grünenthal Pharma.

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