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6 Leadership Lessons for Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

How can leaders create a culture which revolves around your ultimate stakeholder - customers? These six lessons are a great place to start...

leadership lessons

1. Lead with authenticity and EQ

When introducing cultural change, leaders have a tendency to talk big then walk away, leaving operational teams to implement. This approach doesn’t work. Particularly when the cultural shift requires employees to let go of control in an area they previously saw as ‘theirs’. Delivered without sensitivity, the news can evoke a huge range of emotions, from fear and incompetence, to anger, defensiveness and refusal to cooperate. Leaders need emotionally intelligent strategies that nurture, rather than add further pressure.

2. Understand your ‘why’ and communicate it well

A clear vision is vital to the success of any change management initiative. It’s not enough to simply say ‘we’re creating a customer and patient-centric culture’. You need to communicate WHY the change is so important, and how expanded roles and responsibilities (including Medical Affairs) benefits everyone in the team. This needs to include describing how much more effective stakeholder engagement will be when the team is working collaboratively. Collaboration optimises customer experience, establishes a sustainable competitive advantage and ultimately enhances company performance.

3. Review your internal processes and behaviours

Take an honest look at your operating structures and identify those that support a collaborative culture and those that are damaging it. Look at ways to reduce internal competition and instead, reward team-based behaviours. What new behaviours and processes are needed within your organisation to get employees onboard with this new way of operating?

4. Create qualitative KPIs that measure collaboration and strategic thinking

In a genuinely customer-centric culture, there is no relationship owner. The Medical Science Liaison (MSL) is equal to the sales representative or Key Account

Manager — and their contribution to the clinician interaction is just as important.

leadership lessons

This means letting go of traditional metrics like call rates and educational program volumes, and replacing them with qualitative KPIs that measure collaborative behaviours like strategic planning, depth of clinician engagement, tactical execution, therapeutic area comprehension, and the ability to enact change.

5. Put clinician experience and patient outcomes at the centre of every interaction

Before introducing any change to your business, it’s vital to take a step back and ask “will this make us easier to do business with?” No matter how much sense a strategy makes from your perspective, if it’s not giving clinicians and external stakeholders what they need, it won’t be effective long term. Soon enough, in a world of copycats and marginal gains, they’ll find a partner that does put their needs front and centre.

Due to the vastness of this topic, we’ve worked with partners to create a tailored program dedicated to building a cross-functional strategy anchored to the patient and customer journey and the associated inflection points. By starting with mindset, challenging assumptions, synthesising and communicating insights, we can collaborate to design and deliver value and optimise stakeholder engagements.

6. Embed the change

Sustainable change takes time. So be patient, stay passionate and remain 100% committed to the process. Consider enlisting the help of an engagement coach to work one-on-one with team members to address their individual challenges — and shift the idea of collaborative working from a threatening concept into a positive habit. This consultative approach creates a sense of empowerment among the team and greatly increases the likelihood of success.

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