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Dr. Reddy’s Lopez on optimizing customer service

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Tracy Lopez

Tracy Lopez, who is the head of North America customer service and 3 PL operations at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories,spoke with Chain Drug Review about her role and how the company maximizes customer satisfaction.

CDR: Can you explain what 3 PL operations is?

LOPEZ: It’s third-party logistics. It involves holistic management of our warehousing and logistics, which is UPS.

CDR: So what are your principal responsibilities at Dr. Reddy’s?

LOPEZ: I’m responsible for customer service for North America, and that includes customers across all divisions. So, we have an OTC division, an RX division, an SRX division, and currently our self-care division. And, as part of my responsibilities, I mentioned third-party logistics. That includes all inventory that comes in to be distributed to North America customers. Any product that’s being distributed to our customers, I have responsibility for.

There are a lot of different responsibilities, but my most favorite is working directly with our customers, and that’s our internal and external customers, because being in customer service you work with every department and organization to be able to support the customer experience. When I say my internal customers are important to me, I’m referring to my most important team, which is my sales team. Then it would be our supply chain, our regulatory, our finance, our contracts department that would all come together to manage the customer experience.

When I talk about our external customers, and that includes all our customers for the various divisions, it’s one of the most awesome things to be able to have a relationship with them. And, since my department’s responsibility is account management, and it’s set up to directly support those customers, I get to be part of those meetings as well and establish that relationship and connectivity for the customer experience connecting through the 3 PL operations as well as the key account management aspect.

Lopez with the customer service operations ‘Dream Team’

Ultimately, it’s about getting the product in their hands quickly, but our customers measure us on multiple fronts, and that goes back to our cross-functional team.

CDR: How are your SOPs (standard operating procedures) used to promote customer satisfaction?

LOPEZ: I absolutely love that question. And the reason why is I’m all about processes.

To holistically manage your customer experience, all your processes must connect back to that customer experience, and that’s how I built this department, which includes the regulatory compliance aspect, the stock compliance aspect, and the customer experience and taking that direct feedback from our customers on their requirements to establish those processes. I would say internally we have this as an opportunity, but I’m focused on this and it’s kind of a hot button for me right now that I’m working with our senior leadership team. The exercise to be performed is working with every one of our cross-functional teams so that our SOPs connect back to the cross-functional team hand-offs, so that we operate with more speed. Connecting back to those customer requirements allows us to promote that full customer-centricity view from our organization. I’m very passionate about that.

CDR: What skills as well as training/knowledge do you need to handle your position?

LOPEZ: I would say first and foremost you need a passion for your customers. That must be at the center of who you are. And, in fact, when I hire for any of my positions, it’s really the first thing I look for. You can train the knowledge part, you can fuel one’s passion, but you can’t really instill the passion for others. It must be there, and compassion and patience are key, because the requirements are mounting daily.

I think the other point too is operation-minded business acumen. When you look at the customers that we support and how dynamically different they are, you must understand our business and be able to support our business model but be able to pivot and support our customers very differently.

CDR: Do you have any systems in place to get feedback from customers?

LOPEZ: So, this is another big one for me. In the past we would do customer surveys, but we kind of put that at bay. However, the focus is to bring that back now that we have our internal automated OTIF (on time & in full) metric, to let that get under way, and then bring our customer surveys back to the customers, which would be on an annual basis initially, and then twice a year.

CDR: How do you describe your department’s overall approach?

LOPEZ: There’s a credo that our department created together, and it kind of sums up everything I’ve been telling you. It’s about how our credo is our passion, and our strong results are driven by our passion. We are 100% committed to meeting the needs of our external and internal customers. We make it easy for our customers to do business with us and realize that our customer relationships are the key to our success. We add to the human touch, we display a sense of urgency with our customer requests, realizing they should never be inconvenienced. We recognize we are the go-between with our customers and various other departments, and we embrace this. We evaluated processes for efficiency, and we remain at all times completely customer focused. That’s our department credo, as we call it.

CDR: Who do you report to, and how many people are on your team?

LOPEZ: On my team I have 13 employees, and that includes a manager of our 3 PL operations and a claims coordinator. And then my customer service manager, key account managers and some claims support there. And these are for supporting all divisions in North America.

I report to Milan Kalawadia, who is a phenomenal leader. He is a leader that can stay in the balcony and be a leader, but he has no problem getting on the dance floor and getting involved in activities that need more support. He’s authentic, and he stands firm in his beliefs while supporting his team. He’s helped me grow, because I know he has my and the organization’s best interests at heart.


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