If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll likely know that most Intouchers spent their last days in the office — well, offices, there are many — on March 13, 2020. At the time, we thought, “this will just be for a couple of weeks.” Boy, did we get that wrong. And though everything and everyone was upended in those first few months, there was (and still is) one thing we could count on: Intouch’s commitment to its employees. From weekly COVID updates to a monthly tech stipend for our home offices, to free telehealth visits (in-network) — that will continue through the end of this year! — to emotional support panels for those struggling during the pandemic, to regularly updated resources for mental health, managing burnout and more, we have felt the love and support.
The return on that investment has been a commitment on the part of Intouchers to carry on doing great work for the patients, HCPs and — of course — clients we serve. One Intoucher who’s been on this unexpected journey with us is Zach Howard, a director of customer experience strategy in Chicago. Zach started at Intouch about a year before the pandemic; we recently caught up with him to talk about what it’s been like the past year-plus, and learn about what he does all day.
NOTE: At the time of this writing, there are seven open CX positions, so if strategizing is your jam, read on, and consider applying!
How has it been, working virtually for Intouch?
I’ve felt lucky to work for a company that was so well-equipped to handle everything COVID has thrown at us. We were prepared with virtual tech to ensure we weren’t learning anew when we went virtual, and we have been able to quickly adapt our processes and approach for this new landscape. I think Intouch Group’s growth speaks for itself. The transparent and receptive leadership has ensured our team constantly knows what to expect and is prepared for everything our shifting world has to throw at us. We’re all looking forward to getting back to normal, and it has been great to have the few in-person team meetings we all crave to see each other’s faces in real life.
What are your typical responsibilities and challenges — what’s your average day like?
I often feel like there is no typical day – and I love it. Broadly speaking, our responsibility is to own the customer experience and understand how all the tactics, programs, and campaigns we develop fit within it to serve our larger goals. During any day, this may mean creating larger POVs (point-of-view documents) to talk about how new and emerging technology may be incorporated into our ecosystem, or how a review of performance data can lead to optimizations within our existing plans. We may also get very granular with understanding how our strategic visions can come to life via business logic documentation and translations. We are constantly collaborating across our teams to provide insight into how our current projects or proposed initiatives can be evolved to better serve the needs of HCPs and patients.
What field did you work in before you joined Intouch, and how long have you been in marketing?
Prior to working at Intouch, I was working at another smaller pharma-focused marketing agency in Chicago. While I was in the same line of business, moving to Intouch allowed me to work on a variety of different businesses and disease states I wasn’t previously exposed to. Prior to marketing, I actually spent some time in pharma consulting for smaller businesses while I obtained my MBA. That was my intro to pharma, and I haven’t looked back. Before that, I was in environmental science restoration – go figure!
How is working in pharma marketing different than you expected when you started here?
Pharma is a challenge and I love it. No problem is ever straightforward, and no solution is ever single-faceted. What I wasn’t expecting was how different every disease state and every product presents a very unique situational landscape. While nothing is copy and paste, learning the similarities and differences across the industry is an ongoing process and an opportunity to continuously educate ourselves and improve experiences.
How often do you interact with clients, and in what capacity?
I love the opportunity to get in front of clients, and it happens frequently. While obviously I share our larger POVs, recommendations, etc., our team pulls me in whenever there are CX-related questions and trusts that we are the voice of truth with our clients. I love the shared responsibility and trust our teams have. While Account handles most of the day-to-day, they are not shy about pulling us in to discuss a topic that may impact our work or that we are best suited to speak to. Across clients, our level of involvement may differ based on our role and ongoing projects, but I consider us client-facing, strong presenters, and able to bring thoughtful support to our teams.
What type of a personality/disposition or skill(s) do you think is best suited for your job?
Our team excels with collaboration. We need to know the best time to pull in counterparts and trust their expertise. We also love people that are curious and want to learn about what’s next. Someone that is not satisfied with the status quo but wants to figure out how to take experiences to the next level. A natural sense of curiosity and exploration ensure our CX team is always pushing our clients to improve their experiences. At the same time, a plus is an attention to detail and the ability to recognize whether our blue-sky thinking is realistic and how we can actually bring it to life in a feasible manner.
What do you find most challenging about your position?
Our team is innovative and persistent. We push our clients to try new things, explore new areas, and push their comfort zones. As we do this, we sometimes face opposition, comfort with the status quo, and challenges to adopt. We need to be comfortable with understanding that our recommendations and approaches can take time to come to fruition and work with our clients to realize our visions. However, the challenges are worth it when our clients begin to understand the benefits and we are able to help guide them through how to bring advanced customer experiences to life.
Any advice for people interested in getting into a role like yours, or advertising/marketing in general?
For our role, I think it is important to know we are surrounded by such smart, innovative, and friendly teammates who we can constantly pull in to make experiences more relevant and impactful. You should have a desire to work with data and an understanding of the true impact of our experiences. More broadly, it is important to always consider the end user and how everything we work so hard to create impacts real people, with real conditions, and real problems – our mission is to understand how we can make their lives better and more manageable, even though they are going through so much.
If CX strategy is where your heart lies, or even if you’re ready to try something else, visit our careers page today to see what Intouch has to offer and view our open positions.