As organizations deploy new commercial models to adapt to the new operating environment, they need to consider shifting from the traditional volume-focused metrics to the ones that are a true measure of engagement and experience. However, engagement and experience metrics are not as straightforward to design and track as traditional metrics. At the Indegene Digital Summit 2021, Jeff French and Anuj Maheshwari shared some really interesting perspectives on how new-age measurement frameworks must always be closely tied to strategic objectives1,2. For instance, if companies are striving to achieve greater flexibility in interactions with their customers, then the measure of the number of customers engaged across various channels becomes a key metric to track on a regular basis. Although the metric is volume-based, its close association with a strategic objective makes it a key indicator to optimize against.
In addition, qualitative factors should be baked into measurement frameworks. Many healthcare organizations focus on qualitative measures such as broad Net Promoter Score (NPS), brand/company perception studies, and so on. However, none of these metrics inform your organization if your engagements are helping healthcare professionals (HCPs) treat their patients better and/or create additional value for them. Solicited data do not always tell an accurate story, and metrics built around solicited data suffer from the same shortcomings. HCPs may respond to a solicited survey in a certain way, but express something entirely different on a third-party platform or social media. These external platforms tend to have a high impact, as they enable peer-to-peer engagements. According to a study by Sermo, 84% say that reading a peer’s review of a drug would influence their perception of a drug and 77% of physician believe that their peers’ opinion of drugs are more credible than the information they receive from the pharma industry3 . This is where “surgical” data collection from nontraditional sources comes to aid. The data collected from these nontraditional sources need to be organized into simple metrics to understand your customers’ perceptions and behaviors related to the products and your organization.
In life sciences organizations, there is no common understanding of “what does a great experience looks like” for a customer type. It has always been subjective and open for discussion. But the traits of a great experience can be boiled down to a few fundamental tenets. Your customers’ perceptions on how your organization delivers on the fundamental tenets could be powerful indicators of their experience with your organization. Such acutely focused metrics tell a more accurate story on whether the content and engagements are helping HCPs in treating their patients better and adding value to them. Such qualitative measures need to be then collectively pulled together into a single common customer experience (CX) roll-up score that can be reported to senior leadership. Furthermore, it is not just enough to have qualitative measurement parameters and systems, one must also build business processes to act on the insights revealed by these scores.
Furthermore, not all engagements are created equal. Engagement scores from various channels must not be compared head-to-head. Since the beginning of the pandemic, commercial teams have been worried about low engagement scores on digital channels in comparison with in-person channels. If one were to look at the digital engagement scores in isolation, they would seem ineffective in comparison with in-person interactions. But the narrative changes when the same scores are viewed from an added lens of efficiency, reach, speed, and other variables. Digital interactions generally cost less per interaction when compared with in-person channels making them more efficient. In some cases, brands are able to reach new HCPs that they would not have been able to reach through in-person channels. Digital touchpoints allow faster data collection from the interactions leading to a faster orchestration of the next interaction in the customer’s journey path, equating to faster customer conversion in some cases. Therefore, the metrics frameworks have to factor in these additional layers to be able to convey an accurate story.
Market variability must be factored in too. Across various local markets, there has to be an understanding of the common strategic objectives that your organization strives to accomplish with its customer journeys. A common measurement and reporting framework need to be built to support those strategic objectives. However, local markets need the flexibility to engage their customers based on the preferences observed in that market. The common metrics framework should allow for flexibility in measuring various local market-specific nuances of engagements. They should also allow rolling these measures up to a common reporting metric. CX metric reporting frameworks must allow the flexibility needed at a local market level and provide the visibility needed at a senior leadership level.
However, senior leadership cannot get into the minutiae of all the engagement and experience metrics; they need a consolidated view. You need to know where your organization’s senior leadership stands; if they are early in the journey, then start with simple reporting metrics that proxy experience and quality of engagement. Something even as fundamental as clickthrough rate. When the senior leadership is more receptive to it, you can progressively evolve their reporting frameworks to include CX roll-up scores as indicators. Lastly, regardless of the type of metrics, data always have to be coupled with a narrative when being reported; metric without a narrative is misleading.