Quick Takes: the Pharma C-Suite with Ronny Schnel, Exec. Dir., Business Development & Client Services

Ronny Schnel Exec Dir Client Services

Importance of Client Services

When clinical trials project management is paired with effective client services it becomes the framework for the most crucial tasks a Clinical Research Organization (CRO) performs other than the trials it runs. Why is this imperative for executives in the Pharmaceutical development C-suite to focus on this?

The multi-million dollar price tags of the projects undertaken in the competitive environment of pharmaceuticals and drug development dictate the need for a strong liaison between the project management team and their customers. In addition, every CRO needs to adopt and maintain a service-oriented mindset focused on business development and sales, in order to be successful.

And not just the sales team ? a customer-centric focus starts with Client Services, but all employees who have contact with a customer need to keep this in mind:

It’s all About the Customers

Clinical Research Organizations who acknowledge the importance of making initial contact with valuable customers, keeping them as satisfied customers, encouraging them to return, and requesting referrals reap the benefits of a focused client services program. To accomplish this goal, a CRO must create strategic client services policies and procedures. Some of these might include the following:

  • Find and connect with the customers: Every CRO should maintain a database of contacts derived from networks, conferences and personal contacts.
  • Communicate with customers through quality content: It is of the utmost importance in order to attract the level of customers to compete in a tough pharmaceutical market. With today’s technology, digital content is always in front of consumers and it creates leverage for a CRO over competitors NOT engaged in digital content marketing, as well as help build long-term customer relationships.
  • Listen to needs and wants of customers: A recent large C-Suite study[1] involving over 23,000 executives revealed three major insights indicating that every CRO must: (1) acknowledge and act on customer influence and input; (2) implement digital strategies that connect with the customer base; and (3) improve the overall customer experience.?Client Services taking care of customers
  • Give customers reasons to remain: If a CRO remains in touch with the expressed needs, wants, and input from customers, those customers will remain loyal to the CRO and create repeat business — the key goal in the client services arena.
  • Request referrals from satisfied customers: It’s the same in nearly any business: keep customers satisfied, and they will provide word-of-mouth advertising and referrals in return.

Consider This

It’s simple, really: Consumers become customers of a company or organization because they want or need a product or service; they remain customers and refer others as long as that company or organization keeps them satisfied. If a CRO fails to satisfy its customers, they are likely to go elsewhere, just like any customer would. This is why every CRO needs to have effective client services in place as that bridge between the clinical trials and project management teams and their valued sponsors and customers.

[1] Source: http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/en/c-suite/csuitestudy2013/

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