Philadelphia, PA — Every year, the University of Michigan compiles its American Customer Satisfaction Index. Segments like credit unions (85%) and internet retail (80%) have the highest satisfaction. Followed by categories like tobacco (75%) and gas stations (73%). Toward the bottom: Airlines (65%).

Paul Shawah, Vice President of Product Marketing at Veeva, joked, “We’re more satisfied with the industry that kills us than the one that takes us on vacation.”

Shawah shared that same opinion of airlines and expected terrible customer experience… until he booked a trip to China.

Shawah is a United guy, but he booked the trip on a third-party site just to see the full range of flight options. At checkout, he couldn’t tell whether or not he was eligible for an upgrade; so, he jumped on the mobile app. His flight reservation was already updated there. The upgrade didn’t seem to be available; so, he called and was greeted with: “Hello, am I speaking to Paul? … Are you calling about your flight to China?

I’m not sure he ultimately got the upgrade, but that one customer experience upgraded his view of what to expect from the industry. From a third party site to a mobile app to a call center, United had delivered an entirely seamless experience.

Shawah is working with Brian Cantwell, Associate Director of Marketing Technology at Biogen, to try to bring that level of orchestration to pharma.

Cantell showed us what he calls their Mythical Customer Journey:

We’ve all made one – it’s the ideal customer flow through all our integrated communications. It’s mythical because no customer really interacts with our marketing that way.

To create United-like orchestration, Cantwell laid out three basic steps:

  1. Gather insights from each of those unique touchpoints (what was relevant in the sales call, which email earned a click thru, what video was viewed on the website, etc)
  2. Take one step forward by improving those individual channels
  3. Then take a big leap forward by connecting those insights

Taking that leap requires integration between functions that don’t typically get along: marketing, sales and technology.

At Biogen, they took several practical steps to bridge those gaps and get all their silos working together for each customer:

  1. Their sales and marketing leads sit right next to each other.
  2. All the systems reps use are integrated in Veeva. It’s their swiss army knife of tools.
  3. They gave reps visibility into interactions customers have with marketing
  4. Created processes that gets new materials out to the field as soon as they’re approved
  5. Focused on a growth / improvement area: personalization across web and email


About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.