It seems that every medtech company that I visit is going through some transformation, whether it’s a merger, a restructuring or some other change in the commercial model, and I often like to ask these companies how they know if their transformation is working. More importantly, I ask them what their customers, the healthcare professionals, think about it.
Sales are obviously where we hope changes will be reflected. However, they’re a lagging indicator subject to many influences, both internal and external. Customer feedback, meanwhile—and customer satisfaction research in particular—is a leading indicator.
Now, before you dismiss this answer as obvious or facile because you think that you have enough market research already, think about all of the customer interactions you have, both direct and indirect. You have reps visiting your customers. You may also have one or two advisory boards in the past year. You may even have a double-blinded tracker study with a representative sample in your key countries. Yet even with all of these touch points, you’re likely still struggling to have a mechanism by which you can collect and respond to customer feedback in an agile, consistent and tailored manner.
Customer satisfaction programs are different because they allow companies to gather open, candid feedback from individual customers in a way that enables the organizations to both identify broad trends and address individual customer needs. Some highlights of a good customer satisfaction program are:
- Involves the field force: The challenge with most formal market research is that it tends to be far removed from the part of an organization that interacts with customers. Therefore, the results are hard to apply to individual customers. In customer satisfaction surveys, your field force is asking for feedback and implementing it directly on the person who gives the feedback.
- Gathers feedback consistently: The best reps are customer satisfaction machines and are likely engaging in conversations with their customers about this topic. However, not everyone will be doing this in the same way, and ad hoc conversations won’t allow you to spot larger-scale trends in feedback. Set up a program that enables you to consistently capture feedback on important topics and analyze it to drive improvement.
- Provides different layers of interaction: Not all customers are the same, and the same goes for how they provide feedback. Some will want to talk your ear off, while some will only want to answer a two-minute survey. Build your program to be flexible, and you’ll get higher participation and better insights.
- Is open, and brave: When you ask for feedback openly, you’re bound to hear things that you will not like. Customers will say that your marketing campaign is unfocused or that some of your product features are inferior to your competitors. Addressing this feedback with clear eyes and, more importantly, setting up a process to adjust your tactics based on the feedback are fundamental to making this process worthwhile.
- Starts small: It’s amazing to me how positive the reaction has been to these programs, but I won’t deny that they require some change. To generate buy-in, choose one or two business units, or one or two geographies, to build a success case and then expand to the rest of the organization.
You’ve spent countless resources building and implementing the perfect go-to-market strategy. Isn’t it worth your time to find out if you got it right?
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