Anuradha Laskar

Redefining Leadership in Customer Experience

Anuradha Laskar

Sr. Manager Customer Experience,

Merck India

In a world that idolises extroverted personalities, Anuradha Laskar defied the conventional notion that only extroverts could thrive in leadership. As the Sr. Manager of Customer Experience at Merck India, her journey to success serves as a testament to breaking free from stereotypes while remaining true to her scientific roots.
Anuradha’s academic foundation in science propelled her to support and serve the scientific community, making meaningful contributions. She then embarked on a 15- year journey at Sigma Aldrich, later Merck, honing her skills in building customer experiences, managing operations, and striving for process excellence. Despite her love for science, she embraced her unique strengths of attentive listening, astute analysis, and empathetic understanding, fostering genuine connections with customers.
However, like many passionate individuals, Anuradha initially faced communication challenges. With the support of mentors, she embarked on a journey of personal growth, gradually becoming a skilled communicator who leads customer interactions and internal communications with confidence and finesse, fuelled by her passion and empathy. Beyond professional success, Anuradha masterfully balanced her career and family obligations, finding inspiration and strength in the unwavering support of her family. Guided by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In philosophy, she fully embraced her ambitions and deserved success.
Through perseverance, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to excellence, Anuradha shattered long-standing stereotypes that confined individuals to their personality traits. Her story powerfully reminds us that passion, empathy, and determination transcend boundaries. With her unique blend of scientific fervour and people-centric nature, she proves that anyone, introverted or extroverted, can excel by staying true to themselves and wholeheartedly pursuing their dreams.
Anuradha delves deeper into the conversation with TradeFlock, uncovering her journey. 

Tell us about the specific transformations you implemented to improve the customer experience at Merck India.

Improving the customer experience has always been a personal ambition for me. Working in an organisation that impacts lives and health through science, I understood the critical importance of speedy delivery of our products and services. I took the lead in a transformative project aimed at optimising our processes and enhancing the speed of delivery, ultimately creating more value for our customers, and increasing satisfaction. The disruptions created by the COVID wave only augmented the critical nature of speedy supplies in enabling faster cures for the pandemic effect. As the lead, my role was to foster crossfunctional collaboration and engagement among various teams. I implemented a methodology that involved thoroughly analysing the order-to-cash life cycle, identifying key problem areas, and developing innovative solutions to address them. By leveraging the strengths and expertise of individuals across different teams, we worked together towards a shared goal of enhancing both customer and business experiences. Between the years 2018 and 2022, we achieved a fourfold improvement in customer experience, which was a testament to the effectiveness of our efforts. The optimisation of internal processes played a significant role in this success, allowing us to streamline operations, reduce inefficiencies, and ultimately deliver a better experience to our customers. Throughout the project, I witnessed firsthand the power of collaboration and the impact it can have on driving positive change. The success of this project not only bolstered the overall customer experience but also fostered a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation. By constantly seeking ways to enhance our processes and better serve our customers, we were able to stay at the forefront of our industry and maintain a competitive edge.

We hear a lot about the customer-centric business approach; what's your take on this, particularly considering healthcare and life sciences?

In the life science and healthcare industries, embracing a customer-centric business approach is crucial for delivering exceptional experiences and achieving positive outcomes. By prioritising the needs and preferences of customers and patients, organisations can enhance overall satisfaction and drive transformation. Implementing key strategies such as embracing digital engagement, proactive communication and follow-up, and continuous improvement through customer feedback are essential for creating a customer-centric culture. Embracing digital engagement entails providing user-friendly digital platforms that enable easy access to information, personalised recommendations, and interactive features like chatbots and secure online portals. Proactive communication and follow-up involve regularly updating customers, offering support in decision-making, and providing personalised care to ensure continuity and address concerns. Continuous improvement through customer feedback enables organisations to identify areas for enhancement and act on valuable suggestions. By adopting a customer-centric approach, the life science and healthcare industries can revolutionise their delivery of products, services, and care, leading to improved health outcomes, heightened satisfaction, and longterm loyalty. This transformation ultimately contributes to the advancement and success of the industry as a whole.

Do you think customer satisfaction is correlated with employee happiness? If yes, how does your organisation ensure and manage it?

The correlation between customer satisfaction and employee happiness is well established. When employees are happy and engaged in their work, it naturally has a positive impact on the customer experience and overall satisfaction. At Merck, innovation is at the heart of our company culture. We foster an environment where curious minds thrive on creativity and collaboration. Our strategic core elements and high-impact culture empower our people to create positive outcomes for our customers, patients, and society. We have a common mindset that guides our business operations and interactions with colleagues and stakeholders. By embracing a standard set of behaviours, we deliver on our purpose and create a work environment that fosters success, growth, and development for all. Leadership commitment plays a vital role in nurturing a safe, supportive, and inclusive work culture where employees feel valued, respected, and appreciated. This commitment has resulted in the development of innovative products and services. Our happy and engaged employees are driven to go the extra mile in providing exceptional customer service, cultivating positive relationships with customers, and ultimately driving enhanced customer satisfaction and overall business success.

What is your opinion on India's potential to become the global leader in medical tourism, and how will you contribute to this?

India’s potential to become a global leader in medical tourism is undeniable, thanks to its affordable healthcare services, skilled medical professionals, and quality infrastructure. The country’s cost advantage attracts patients from around the world seeking high-quality care at lower costs. Additionally, India boasts a vast pool of skilled medical professionals specialising in various fields, earning global recognition for their expertise. The country has also made significant investments in healthcare infrastructure, incorporating advanced technologies on par with international standards. To further enhance India’s potential in medical tourism, the life science and healthcare industries play a crucial role. Merck has also significantly contributed through research and development, leading to breakthroughs in medical treatments and healthcare technologies. Collaborations with institutions, universities, and research organisations foster knowledge exchange and joint initiatives, promoting innovation. Moreover, patient support and experience initiatives, such as personalised care and efficient processes, elevate India’s competitiveness in the global medical tourism market. While India has immense potential, addressing challenges remains crucial. Improving infrastructure in rural areas, ensuring quality control and accreditation standards, and streamlining medical visa processes are key areas that require attention. By addressing these factors, India can build trust, sustain growth, and solidify its position as a global leader in medical tourism.