At first glance, the concept of delivering a “luxury” experience like you’d see at a high-end hotel or resort may not seem like a concept that’s applicable to the pharma industry. But Matt Traub, CEO of Traub Hospitality, says that’s not the case. When creating a better experience for the patient and seamless delivery of products is the goal, the world of hospitality can offer valuable lessons.
Traub spent more than a decade working as an executive for Four Seasons Hotels – a brand synonymous with both luxury and customer service. He told attendees at the Channel Management Forum that in today’s increasingly competitive environment, luxury brands are defined “…by the degree to which they provide a highly personalized, intuitive level of service that goes beyond a simple business transaction, to build relationships and emotional connections with their customers.”
Regardless of your industry, Traub says companies that create deep emotional connections with customers will reap long-term, high-value returns such as customer loyalty and advocacy.
According to Traub, while delivering that high level of service doesn’t necessarily require a huge financial investment, it does require a great deal of focus, effort and training to empower your team to identify opportunities for providing above-and-beyond service to customers.
Watch the Channel Management Forum presentation now »
So what does “luxury customer service” look like in a business-to-business, versus consumer setting? Joel Wayment, Vice President of Cardinal Health 3PL Services, joined Traub on stage to share a real-life example. The upshot? Constantly empowering employees to do what’s best for the patient can often lead to outstanding, unexpected customer service.
“One of our clients has a product used to treat patients who have organ transplants. It’s a high-urgency, life-saving medication,” said Joel. “One of our healthcare provider clients called in a rush order of that product, for delivery the next morning. The order needed to be placed within minutes in order to meet the timeframes provided by the carrier. Standard operating procedures called for a purchase order to be formally sent in with all the details for this urgent, high-cost drug; but the Cardinal Health 3PL customer service associate who took the call could tell that the client was calling in from his car, rushing to an off-site meeting.”
“That customer service associate could have simply instructed the customer to send in a purchase order when he got to a computer,” said Wayment. “She could have just told the customer that he was calling a little too late and would likely miss the order cut-off time. Instead, that associate focused on the knowledge that patients are the center of everything we do – and a patient, who would soon be undergoing a life-saving organ transplant, was depending on us. So she took the initiative to go above and beyond – and typed up all the details of the order in an email, and asked the customer to pull over to the side of the road for just a few minutes, to review the details and reply back with approval. This simple act – of creating an impromptu, informal purchase order – wasn’t required, and it wasn’t expected. But it did create a long-lasting, memorable connection with a valued customer – and more importantly, it helped save the life of a patient.”