A step into the customer’s world helped Pfizer Sweden’s vaccine business to find new services to improve the customer experience.

Although Pfizer is the market leader in the Swedish vaccine market, in spring of last year it wanted to improve its performance even more. The key question was whether it could do something even more for the benefit of its customers.

“Many expert organisations in particular imagine that they know their customers’ needs, even though it would often be important for them to analyse these needs further. For us, it was also essential to better understand the needs of the customers’ own customers”,

says Viveca Sundbom, Strategic Portfolio & Stakeholder Lead Vaccines who is in charge of the project for developing the customer experience.
Viveca Sundbom, Strategic Portfolio & Stakeholder Lead Vaccines at Pfizer

In spring 2020, Pfizer therefore set off on a development journey with Verona Consulting (former Talent Vectia), even though the coronavirus pandemic had just hit the Nordic countries.

In the development of operating models, the greatest stress was on the business that is responsible for vaccines against TBE (tick-borne encephalitis). In Sweden, tick-borne encephalitis is prevalent in areas where most of the country’s population is concentrated, which means significant business for Pfizer.

At Pfizer, the business is divided into two customer segments: public services and private healthcare companies. In Sweden, private healthcare companies also include companies that specialise exclusively in vaccination.

Making customer needs visible

The development project was launched by analysing customer needs. Those participating in the work interviewed not only the customers but also the customers’ customers. The aim was to learn to better understand what the customers expect from services, how Pfizer can meet their expectations and what factors influence the decisions of end-customers.

“We accessed a new frequency by discussing the customer path with a wide range of different customers,” says Sundbom.

Once the customer needs had been established, the development teams began to build a new range of services. In the next stage, processes were refined and new working methods developed. Finally, the new models were introduced.

Major steps towards a better customer experience

The results of the development project are visible in both customer work and Pfizer’s internal operations.

”One early key development step was that we were able to turn the unit’s mindset in the direction of thinking in terms of the added value to customers in all business activities”,

says Tero Ylitalo, who led the steering group for the development project and is responsible for the company’s vaccine business in Finland and Sweden.
Vesa Ylitalo, Vaccines BU Lead Finland & Sweden at Pfizer.

Another important change was that the roles of personnel and their way of working were revamped. This improved the efficiency of operations.

The most important change was naturally the reform of many operating practices thanks to the improvement in understanding the customer.

“We are increasingly regularly developing our operations together with the customer. Among other things, we are considering how to communicate to customers about vaccination during the coming season, how well the personnel know the new products and how to remind customers about the booster vaccine,” says Ylitalo.

A systematic process inevitably takes time and effort. Frustrations also arise from this emotional rollercoaster. Throughout the process, it is therefore important to keep in mind the objectives that the development work aims to achieve.

“Such a strategic process also inevitably involves pain. Energy then comes through results and we can already say now that the comments from customers have been very positive,” says Ylitalo.

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Risto Pennanen

Senior Executive Consultant

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Senior Managing Consultant

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