Digital Technology Crucial to HCP Customer Engagement Success
Healthcare is a fast-changing landscape, placing new pressures on doctors, pharmacists, and other HCPs that impact the decisions they make for patients, the information they need to keep up to date, and how they receive it. These same pressures make it more critical than ever that life sciences companies rethink their digital and in-person customer engagement strategies to identify unmet needs and align with commercial objectives.
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It’s worth taking a moment to recognize that although pharmaceutical, medical devices, and animal health sectors in the life sciences industry share many similarities, fundamental differences impact their approach to customer engagement. Centrally, the nature of these companies’ products drives much of where they have traditionally placed their engagement focus and the challenges they face in changing their approach.
The regulatory environment these companies operate also dictates many aspects of customer engagement. All life sciences sectors are heavily regulated, but the applicable regulations and guidelines can differ significantly. These requirements dictate much of what can be communicated from a promotional perspective, especially to patients. They also reflect the need for information and education as a priority given the complexity of the disease, clinical situations in which they’re being considered, and how HCP feedback needs to be captured.
Despite these differences, companies across life sciences face similar challenges regarding customer engagement, such as personalizing interactions, demonstrating value, and building customer trust. All companies can benefit from leveraging omnichannel go-to-market models, next-generation customer technology, and the rapidly emerging field of generative AI to gain insights into customer preferences and behavior that deliver the personalized experiences that drive commercial growth and improve customer relations.
Omnichannel is more than giving customers an array of different touchpoints; companies need to develop a customer-centric approach that integrates touchpoints wherever they connect with other parts of the organization and then leverages a shared understanding of customer preferences and behaviors.
Omnichannel should improve how all customer functions operate and should not be seen as being specific to marketing – it has equal significance to customer functions like sales and medical affairs.
Companies can leverage digital technologies and analytics to track customer interactions across various channels, such as email, social media, and the web, to gain insights into customer preferences and behavior. By understanding customer behavior, companies can personalize customer interactions and deliver relevant, timely information that resonates.
Sales teams leverage omnichannel to orchestrate activity across their target customers and eliminate conflicts or over-communicating. Medical affairs teams use omnichannel to better respond to healthcare professionals across multiple touchpoints, providing them with the latest scientific information and support.
Service teams, such as in Medical Devices companies, benefit from access to data from other parts of the business that can help to understand a particular fault. This approach helps to build stronger relationships with healthcare professionals, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.
An Omnichannel healthcare strategy differs from multichannel in several critical ways, not least the ability for teams to base their decisions on a unified view of customer activity and manage how, where, and when they engage across physical and virtual channels.
Next-generation CRM underpins omnichannel engagement, providing an accurate 360° view of each customer or account based on everything the company knows about them – not just information the sales team gathers, and using data and analytics to provide more personalized and predictive experiences.
True next-gen solutions like Exeevo Omnipresence CRM help teams across life sciences businesses better understand the needs of their customers and improve how they’re doing their jobs by providing role-specific tools – sales enablement, and insight apps for field sales, campaign, and journey management for marketing, knowledge and case management for medical information – and an optimized view of the available data that will inform better actions or responses.
For Medical Affairs teams, next-gen CRM brings insights into healthcare professionals’ preferences and behaviors, helping them deliver personalized support – whether working with a clinical leader, planning an educational event, or responding to a medical inquiry. They can also be used to identify areas where companies can add value and develop new solutions to meet the evolving needs of their customers. By leveraging data analytics and AI, next-generation CRM systems can anticipate customer needs and deliver more personalized recommendations of relevant information and services – so much more than a Next Best Action.
Generative AI has the potential to deliver on the long-held promise of how AI can transform customer engagement in real and meaningful ways. With the rise of digital technologies, companies can now leverage generative AI-powered tools to better understand their customers’ needs and preferences and provide them with more personalized experiences.
Generative AI can help companies analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns and insights that would be difficult or impossible for humans to detect, then deliver these concisely and understandable. This approach can help companies better understand their customers, allowing them to develop more effective products and services that meet their needs.
One example of generative AI in action is in helping marketers define HCP segments for a campaign. Rather than having to work through complex sets of attributes to define a specific set of features, a generative AI-enhanced application allows a marketer to use natural language to describe who they want – and don’t – in a particular segment and then understand their characteristics and who else they might want to consider.
Generative AI is a field where Microsoft had brought real innovation to the market through its investment in Open AI and the creation of Co-Pilot as the GPT-4 powered companion across all of their business, productivity, and developer apps. Partners like Exeevo are now bringing these exciting capabilities into its Omnipresence CRM solution to provide safe, relevant AI solutions that will aid usability, drive productivity and improve the experience. As we’ve all seen, this is a rapidly evolving area, with many initial concerns around hallucinations and other aspects of accuracy improving significantly in a few months.
Personalization and Data Analytics
Personalization has become a central goal for customer engagement as companies move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to care. By leveraging data beyond what’s traditionally been in CRM and employing advanced analytics, companies can better understand patient needs and preferences and develop products and services that meet those needs more effectively.
To achieve personalized customer engagement, life sciences companies must be open to collecting and analyzing data from sources beyond their traditional focus, including electronic health records, HCP and patient portals, and wearables. Teams can use the data to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and outcomes, allowing companies to create targeted interventions and treatment strategies. Companies can also use predictive analytics to anticipate customer needs and identify opportunities to support up-and-coming customers like DOLs.
Medical Affairs’ Role in Customer Engagement
With so much of the discussion around customer engagement focused on sales and possibly a bit on marketing, too, it is important to look at the crucial role Medical Affairs play in customer experience. When HCPs are asked what services and resources they most value from life sciences, it’s often those provided by medical affairs that are ranked highest – educational programs, medicines information, and MSLs, amongst others. This role is evolving to meet customers’ changing needs; they are an essential partner in delivering value to HCPs, stakeholders, and patients through education, scientific information, and services.
Medical Affairs teams increasingly use additional data sets – such as KOL and research registries – and advanced analytics to provide healthcare professionals with personalized support and insights into patient outcomes. This approach can help healthcare professionals to make informed decisions and provide better care. Medical affairs teams can also leverage digital technologies to deliver engaging and interactive content, such as webinars, podcasts, and virtual symposia, that can be accessed by healthcare professionals anytime, anywhere.
Where to from here
Customer engagement in the life sciences industry is changing rapidly as companies adapt to meet the evolving needs of their customers. Omnichannel engagement, next-generation CRM, generative AI, personalization, and data analytics are all critical areas where companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors across all parts of their operations, including Medical Affairs.
While there are differences between industry sectors, they all benefit from strategies and approaches that emphasize cross-functional working and personalization with improved customer experience as a primary goal. Companies that embrace these trends and opportunities will be well-positioned for success in future years, building stronger relationships with their customers and driving growth.
Get in touch with Exeevo to learn how we can help.