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Customer Experience and Design

Life Sciences Is Not Immune To The Age Of The Customer

This is the second post in a series about applying customer experience (CX) principles to life sciences. In the first post, I discussed a critical underpinning concept for the blog series related to how “customers” are defined in life sciences. Here’s a quick recap:

Since patients don’t typically buy their medications or medical devices directly from pharma and med device companies, our customers are not retail customers. But we definitely still have customers; it’s just that our relationship with them is a bit different.

Life sciences customers include patients, physicians, clinical site personnel, clinical investigators, clinical subjects, CRO partners, regulatory agencies, and even our employees. Think: Any group of people that you interact with and want to think/feel/behave in a particular way toward your organization.

In this week’s post, I’ll begin translating the CX strategy guide, published by my Perficient Digital colleagues, to apply to life sciences.

In 2010, what is now called The Age of the Customer began. It signaled a shift in the balance of power in the market, from the manufacturers and distributors to the (now) highly informed and constantly connected customers. Even though this shift began in retail, life sciences isn’t immune to the changes. That’s because the same people who shop on Amazon also take our medications, rely on our medical devices, prescribe our medications, partner with us on research, review our regulatory applications and reports, and sit next to us at the office.

Unfortunately, according to Forrester Research, only 1% of companies currently deliver an excellent CX. It seems the “why” and “how” of embedding a customer strategy into a business strategy remains elusive, but it’s the key to delivering what customers now expect. And, the sooner your organization achieves that, the more differentiated you will be in the market – not just the retail market, but the market for vendors (“We want you as our client!”), partners (“We want to fund your research!”), and talent (“I want to work for you!”).

The key points here are that 1) considering your various stakeholder groups as “customers” is critical for success in the current marketplace – even in life sciences – and that 2) succeeding in this new paradigm requires more than a great marketing strategy; the entire business must be aligned.

As a side note, the CX strategy guide includes a point of clarification between CX and UX (user experience) that seems useful to pass along, as these terms can easily be confused. Here’s the gist:

User experience (UX) is your customer’s experience with a specific digital channel, be it your website, an app, or a piece of software, while customer experience (CX) is the overall experience customers have with your brand. Clearly, you can’t have a great CX without a great UX in each channel.

But CX is much larger than UX. It’s not just what happens digitally or on the screen; it’s what happens directly, indirectly, online, in the doctor’s office, and sometimes well after the decision is made to use your product, run your study, or work for you.

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Marin Richeson

Marin joined the life sciences industry in 2001. Over the course of her tenure, she has held roles in clinical finance, IT, quality assurance, and validation. The diversity of her experience provides her with a unique perspective on the interconnectedness of this complex, multi-faceted industry. Marin Richeson is a lead business consultant in Perficient's life sciences practice.

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