Healthcare CX - a strategic priority for Pharma

Updated: Aug 26

Should healthcare and pharma be adopting Customer Experience practices?

It’s not rocket science. We all want to interact with companies that give us positive, frictionless experiences and we avoid those that don’t!

What does CX in Pharma look like?

  • Understanding your customer needs (B2B & B2C)

  • Engaging on the customer's terms

  • Delivering effective customer service

  • Building a sense of community and long term partnership with customers (both B2B & B2C)

  • Personalising interactions to be individual and more effective

  • Being reactive with products and services


Why should Pharma consider CX?

In today’s connected world, healthcare customers’ expectations are changing. They compare their experiences not just to other Pharma, but to other service providers including utilities and internet providers, investment and financial institutions, even retail businesses like Amazon and Apple.

New research indicates that many life sciences companies aren’t fully leveraging CX to differentiate themselves in the market and gain the trust of key audiences.

Businesses that work to align their offerings with their audiences goals, channels and content preferences will be better positioned to deliver the kind of relevant, valuable connections that increase brand affinity and loyalty over time, including the end users, customers and physicians.


A recent study by McKinsey quantitatively demonstrates that customer experience in Pharma has bottom line impact, concluding that “paying more attention to the customer experience, (Pharma) companies can not only increase satisfaction but also boost sales and market share”.

Companies that effectively measure and manage customer experience outperform their competitors in terms of key bottom line measures including profitability, revenue growth, shareholder value and stock market performance.

This is as true in Pharma as it is elsewhere.



Why does CX matter for Pharma?

Great Customer Experience unlocks additional value for a pharmaceutical business:

· Increase the number of customer engagements. Great customer experiences are twice as likely as poor experiences to lead to further engagement around the product. Customers who are satisfied with their interactions are more likely to save materials about the product or service for future use. They’re also three times more likely to share information that they receive from others. This form of word-of-mouth marketing correlates strongly with sales in industries such as retail and telecom.

· Create a more positive view of the product and company. 44% of the time that an HCP rates an interaction as great; it significantly improves their opinion of the company’s product. Positive positioning of the product in the minds of the customer can change current and future prescribing behaviour.

· Whet the appetite to engage more deeply in digital channels. HCPs who rated their most recent interaction as great on all aspects of their desired customer experience are more willing to engage with that pharma company in digital channels. This unlocks the opportunity for companies to rebalance their mix of communications between more effective personal channels and less costly impersonal channels.





Frequently Asked Questions:

Who is the customer in Pharma CX?

The term “customer” is issued liberally; it is referring to the various stakeholders and target audiences such as consumers, healthcare professionals, sales reps, partners, and even institutions.


Can CX work within the current Pharma constraints?

The realities of a heavily regulated environment restrict Pharma's ability to utilise all of the CX techniques that other industries rely on to differentiate. Marketing, advertising, communications, applications, and public-facing statements are pretty much set in stone after multiple rounds of the Medical Legal Review process.


Techniques such as A/B and multivariate testing, message tweaking to maximise conversions, and even basic personalisation profile data are not always available in the healthcare customer engagement toolbox. Healthcare companies must focus on making facts more accessible, relevant and timely. Understanding that Healthcare professionals want their pharma experiences to deliver trust, relevance and simplicity.


Does CX really matter when engaging with HCPs?

Trust is a major factor in HCP relationships with Pharma companies. A physician's life has become increasingly computerised, digitised, and fragmented in recent years. This means that access to the right and trusted information delivered quickly and in the right form factor (primarily mobile), is paramount. When targeting HCPs, it is important to capitalise on their limited available time to provide them with authoritative and impartial sources of information.


How do you ensure success?

Half the battle is committing to Pharma CX and having the wherewithal to learn, iterate, and grow. A long-term commitment is required if you want to be successful. There is a lot of innovative work in Pharma, especially in the formulation and the testing side, but not in how you bring customers into the fold or how you develop apps that help people monitor their health levels, remind them to take their medication.


What is the CX process?


1) Identify your stakeholders

The first step is to ensure you have identified all the stakeholders. With so many stakeholders, it’s not always clear who the customer is. Is it the HCP, the payer or the patient? Well, although they all may not strictly be customers, it’s crucial that they all have a great experience when dealing with your products, brands and employees. In fact, it’s critical that all stakeholders, including policymakers, providers, patient groups, KOLs and caregivers, also have a great experience.

2) Segment your stakeholder groups

It may be appropriate to segment some of the stakeholder groups into a number of smaller groups. However, if you do remember to ensure all segments are distinct, sizeable, addressable, meaningful and durable.

3) Develop Personas

After segmentation, the next step is to develop Personas. A Persona is an archetypal person who represents the segment. Depending on the group it may be necessary to develop more than one Persona for each stakeholder group or group segment.

4) Create the experience Journey Maps

Next is the process of developing a journey for each Persona. These journeys need to be comprehensive, so they’ll need to cover every phase, from clinical trials through to product launch and from product lifecycle management through to the product’s post-patent period.

First comes the assessment of the customer insights, voice of the customer research and customer experience data available. These could include market research, tracker data, call center inputs, existing customer journey maps, touchpoint analyses and other inputs.

You need to define the discrete relationship stages with the Persona across each phase. With these defined, the Personas’ current journey can now be brought sharply into focus through insights about their needs, their experiences, their influences and the media channels they use. And finally, conduct an audit to identify how you are currently meeting, or plan to meet, the Personas needs and expectations.

This requires a holistic, cross-functional approach to understanding how all the elements – sales force, medical, marketing, digital channels, products, corporate reputation – fit together at both a macro (factor) level and a micro (attribute) level to create equity with customers.

5) Use the Journey Maps as a strategic springboard

With the experience Journey Map created it can now be put to work in informing what you do. The use of these maps can be strategically dialled up and down. Complex patient journeys require personalised engagement and touch-points. Context matters and personalisation is a strategy, not a set of activities

For example, it could help identify where a digital tactic could be put to use for HCP detailing, form the foundation of a multi-channel marketing plan, provide insights for the development of a market access strategy or identify a patient service opportunity.



In summary

There is a lot to learn from how CX leaders in other industries have gotten closer to the customer using feedback and customer insights as their guide and it is important for Pharma to apply lessons learned from world-class CX leaders.

Although Pharma faces regulatory barriers that other traditional CX leaders do not, the opportunity to create experiences for patients that are not only memorable but can extend and save lives is incredibly important.

Pharma companies urgently need a more holistic, cohesive, and actionable framework of CX measurement to understand the multidimensional nature of their customer and patient relationships. And only a more holistic and cohesive approach will allow companies to take action to truly improve those relationships and build long-term equity with those customers.


When companies prioritise customer relationships, they can build long-term profitability and growth, despite product life cycles and patent expiries.

We must shift from a sales-oriented approach to a service-oriented approach. We need to have the customer and patient’s voices next to our ears, so we can test and verify that what we do makes sense and fills the expectation gaps in the customer’s journey.

Once the patient’s voice becomes the focal point rather than just a “nice to have,” patient-centricity becomes real and the benefits multiply for all stakeholders.


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Check out our other relevant blogs:

https://www.hiya.marketing/post/5-tips-for-b2b2c-customer-experience-success

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