Patient Centricity: Why customer experience strategies should still be a priority

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When it comes to manoeuvrability and nimble response, large companies have more in common with ocean liners than speedboats. Policies are agreed, marketing strategies planned, and future developments or projects set in motion months or years in advance.

The ability to change course, try new initiatives or incorporate the latest methods of delivery for what customers want has become even more of a challenge since the digital revolution.

Add in the changing face of healthcare and more complex needs of HCPs who work at the coal face, directly with patients, the need for pharma to deliver a pertinent customer experience is tenfold.

HCPs vanishing time availability

Doctors and other health care providers just don’t have time to wade through reams of information to stay abreast of the latest pharma advances. The ability to find what they need, when they need it, is paramount if pharma companies are to capture and keep HCPs’ attention.

The lines between personal and professional life are increasingly blurred. As technology users, we can instantly call up the information we need, finding answers to questions in all areas of private life. Consider the digital tools that deal with and give relevant, timely information for travel, retail and banking.

Consider also private or hobby computer use, and how we can tag files or documents with keywords to make retrieval easier, or how we use social media as an open doorway to practically global knowledge and experience.

HCPs want the same level of customer experience and service from the digital technology they use professionally that they get from the tech used personally. This applies across all age groups, but is especially relevant to younger professionals. When pharma doesn’t meet that level of expectation, their relevance is diminished.

Barriers to relevancy

To stay relevant to HCPs, pharma needs to help them get closer to the patients they serve. By becoming more patient-centred, pharma would automatically provide a more HCP-centred service, helping care providers find relevant information on:

·         The patient journey

·         The ways in which drugs work

·         Evidence-based outcomes

All these offer convenience and relevance to time-pressed doctors.

 The flip-side is IT systems that don’t communicate with each other, creating barriers to delegation, wasted time and frustration. Digital products that underperform not only miss the mark, they impair HCP performance and degrade the pharma customer experience.

The changing face of online search

Providing digital technology that’s relevant, convenient and accessible is only half the challenge. Now health care providers have less time for physical meetings with pharma representatives. In addition, current compliance laws make it harder for pharma to provide incentives for meeting, which results in more reliance on online search.

This situation adds a new level of complexity into the marketing mix, because the ways in which companies can ensure their information is found online changes rapidly. Recent changes in the way Google returns search results, for instance, shakes up existing digital marketing techniques adopted by pharma. More emphasis is now needed on embedded keywords and search engine optimisation. The battle to keep up with such digital changes means pharma inadvertently gives less attention to customer experience.

Information overload is a phrase often bandied about, and with good reason. Customers interact with brands through email, websites, promotions, sales calls, prescription data and market research participation, to name but a few.

Staying relevant and continuing to provide a positive pharma customer experience needs constant monitoring for usage and customer satisfaction. In short, pharma needs to take an all-round view of their marketing strategies or campaigns to ensure their digital medical tools are optimised for HCPs

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