How Developing a Customer Centric Model will Transform Digital Engagement
In the rapidly transformational landscape of life sciences, organizations have had to adapt like never before to meet the demands of their customer base. For a long time, they built their brands around their products and how they impact the medical world in general without any thought to a customer centric focus. This approach is changing as the current climate forces companies to rethink their engagement strategies with healthcare providers (HCP).
The emphasis has shifted from the treatments and medications to the customer in a few short years. Healthcare providers, patients, and providers are overwhelmed with technical content that fails to address their actual needs and concerns. Organizations need to shift the focus of their content to connect and engage digitally on a deeper level.
Life science organizations must rethink their entire structure to create thoughtful content that stands out from the competition that relies on quantity over quality. Strategic collaboration, an emphasis on customer value, and deeper insights into HCP concerns are all critical parts of providing help on the front line instead of the traditional brand-centric engagement that will likely lead nowhere.
Improving digital engagement is more than changing tactics to emphasize digital over in-person: it requires transforming the nature of content creation on a structural level.
A Focus on Improving Digital Communication
During the pandemic, social distancing made seeing sales reps impossible, forcing pharma to confront its strategy head-on to continue engaging the healthcare community. However, the rise of digital-first communication led some life science organizations to make the mistake of thinking that more digital communication is better.
Even as in-person meetings became possible again, many pharma companies sought to use their field teams strategically and intensified digital activity over physical engagement. HCPs became flooded with information regarding new medications, procedures, and treatments over in-person appointments.
This shift has created a significant challenge for both providers and pharma organizations. Healthcare providers — like all humans — are limited to 24 hours in their days. Their working hours are spent saving lives, relieving suffering, and caring for their patients. Add to this the need to maintain a work-life balance (already a struggle for providers), and the amount of time they have dedicated to reading content and consuming digital resources is limited. As organizations push more content for their multiple brands, more of it will go unread by providers.
Recent research shows that HCPs are growing increasingly overwhelmed and unhappy with the amount of content they receive, with 65% surveyed going as far as saying they were “spammed” by pharma organizations.
In this climate of mounting content and HCP frustration, pharma organizations need to stand out from the deluge with better content and effective communication instead of more.
A Strategic Rethink of Engagement
The life science organizations that will succeed in the new digital age are the ones that realize that digital communication is not an intensity game. Increasing digital spending and engagement does not guarantee success. Providers respond to and engage with valuable content. Campaigns and content need to keep HCP constraints, time, and pain points in mind to succeed. For example, one report found that messages with 10-14 words were most effective for oncologists.
Short messages that weave storytelling and a persuasive value proposition with data-backed statements are effective but challenging for pharma companies to deliver with traditional structures. It requires sweeping changes to the entire customer marketing approach. From planning to creation to delivery of content, organizations need to revise their strategy to center around the customer, not the brand.
Providing more value to HCPs and efficient digital communication requires cross-functional collaboration across commercial and medical affairs. Pharma companies must break through traditional siloes to create broad ownership of customer experiences across their organization. Business systems that support campaign design across multiple stakeholders will enable them to create tightly targeted messages that offer HCPs practical help on the frontline.
A customer-centric approach means transforming the back office in addition to the front-facing teams to support the integrity of the customer experience. Each department needs to assess how they impact the customer and where improvement is necessary. For example, accounting is typically considered far removed from the customer. Yet, slow reimbursement for HCP traveling expenses could degrade the customer experience. It takes organizational-wide change to create a truly transformational experience for HCPs.
Transformation Takes Time and Ambition
Transforming the entire structure of an organization to center around the pain points and goals of HCPs is an ambitious process. It requires mobilizing every function within the organization, not just those that deal directly with customers. It would be practically impossible for organizations to break through long-entrenched patterns and siloes overnight to respond to healthcare providers’ new expectations. However, more tools than ever exist to support organizations in effective collaboration and identifying HCP needs.
A shift to a customer-centric organization requires a large-scale reorientation and courage to create an enormous cultural shift. Making such a significant change takes time and ambition. Starting with quick wins provides short-term improvements and enthusiasm to keep making changes.
One of the first ways to improve collaboration is by enhancing the handoffs between medical affairs and commercial teams. It is one of the most critical forms of cooperation, especially during crucial launches. During the early phases of the customer journey — especially in the pre-launch phase — HCPs typically focus on medical affairs. Sharing valuable insights quickly and efficiently is critical to success.
Quick wins with collaboration are crucial to maintaining momentum in such a large undertaking. By starting with medical affairs and marketing, organizations can reap the largest benefits and ensure success from the beginning.
Creating a Customer-Centric Organization
Pharma organizations made incredible changes over the past few years to meet the needs of a changing medical system. However, more changes are needed to center around the needs of HCPs and other customer types. Thoughtful organizational transformation lies ahead as companies shift their engagement and content strategies to consider HCP needs and considerations.
In many ways, the shift in customer experience is just beginning.
Exeevo’s Omnipresence is a single digital ecosystem with omnichannel capabilities that provides life science organizations critical support and in-depth insights for collaborative commercial and medical customer relationship management. The platform offers support at each stage o›f the customer journey empowered with Microsoft AI across devices and applications.
- Fierce Pharma. 2022. Don’t spam us, healthcare professionals plea, as they seek quality over quantity from pharma marketers. Retrieved from https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/hcps-want-less-clutter-more-relevance-from-pharma-marketers-survey-shows
- Reuters Pharma. 2022. Exclusive Pfizer to cut US sales staff as meetings with healthcare providers move to virtual. Retrieved from Exclusive-Pfizer to cut U.S. sales staff as meetings with healthcare providers move to virtual