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A Fresh Perspective with Markus Hinderberger

Redefining organizational processes to drive
customer-centric omnichannel experiences

Introduction

Nancy Phelan, SVP Omnichannel Activation
Taking a digital-first approach and mobilizing omnichannel can alleviate the challenges that life sciences organizations are taking to reaching their healthcare professional (HCP) audiences. Too often we think that we must make a binary choice: reps OR digital.
At Indegene, we embrace the “AND.” Reps AND digital together make for powerful omnichannel solutions to reach HCPs and deliver personalized, relevant experiences that are efficient and effective.
I’m delighted to bring you a fresh perspective from an industry expert who knows what it takes to be successful in driving customer-centric omnichannel experiences. Markus Hinderberger is a thought leader in the industry with depth and breadth of experience spanning Sales, Marketing, and Enterprise Customer Capabilities. Most recently, he led the BMS/Celegene CRM integration across 30 markets in a compressed, COVID-19 timeframe. Markus brings powerful insights into arguably one of the biggest challenges we face today—how to effectively engage our customers.

Customer experience must be more than a conversation

Conversations about customer experience have been the focus of driving revenue and implementing effective change management strategies in the life sciences for over a decade, but the reality is that providing a quality customer experience is still challenging.
Organizations must be willing to implement a change management journey that
Redefines the way that the organization organizes around customer experience.
Leverages a digital-first perspective and an omnichannel approach to interact with customers.
Seamlessly incorporates insights about customers across the entire organization.
In this white paper, we propose strategies and a framework that drive organizational change, optimize a digital-first perspective, and elevate customer experience across the organization.

Defining customer experience

Customer experience is the sum or aggregate of customers' perceptions and feelings that result from all the interactions the customer has with an organization, business, or brand. At the core of this definition is an individual’s experience.

Customer experience drives revenue

DT Consulting has found that customers are more than twice as likely to engage further with companies that provide a quality customer experience, and that these positive customer interactions are likely to improve the way that HCPs view a pharma company’s products.1
Focusing on customer-centric strategies designed to meet HCP’s needs has the potential to not only encourage positive interactions but also drive business revenue and build overall brand awareness and trust.
Going forward, life science organizations need a more focused and actionable framework that will allow them to build a customer-centric approach across the organization from the ground up. Disrupting organizational silos are essential, and building an integrated, coordinated customer-centric approach—an omnichannel approach—is key.

Customer engagement in the life sciences is experiencing a rapid shift

Over the last several years, there has been a shift in the go-to-market model and the way HCPs interact with life science organizations. Not only has technology changed communication preferences, but customers’ expectations have also changed.
Surprisingly, the opportunities for life sciences to access HCPs have returned to pre-COVID-19 levels (60% across specialties*) with an increased focus on providing a more digitally enabled hybrid approach to support an enhanced HCP engagement 2. While COVID-19 pushed the medical community to embrace more digital interactions, HCPs are also increasingly digital natives who prefer to interact both in-person and through digital technology. A closer look shows that, of the accessible HCPs, more than 50% meet with reps via a hybrid mix of in-person and video channels 2(Fig 2)3.
Based on the latest Veeva Pulse Data, HCPs are providing access to field team members similar to the pre-COVID-19 era, but the data suggests that HCPs are being highly selective and limiting their access to a smaller number of life science organizations 2. In addition, 70% of physicians are now owned by third parties 4, and access to HCPs is no longer a level playing field.
Given the reality of unequal access to HCPs, greater focus needs to be put on the value of every interaction. This reinforces the need to personalize the HCP experience and necessitates a shift to targeted content while optimizing HCP channel preferences.
In addition to these shifts in the industry, there have also been significant budgetary pressures that have contributed to the changing landscape. Increased need to right size field teams and resources coupled with decreased time in front of HCPs has upended the sustainability of a purely face-to-face reach and frequency approach.

Organizational challenges with the current customer engagement approach

Even when an organization seeks to create a positive customer experience, many are aware that they have a gap between their intended engagement model and customer satisfaction due to internal challenges with the current model.
Current organizations often exhibit a lack of organizational focus and prioritization on customer experience.
Many health sciences continue to demonstrate a siloed organizational structure, hierarchical thinking, and individual ways of working that are focused on internal objectives.
Often organizational leadership fails to appropriately allocate resources to support and prioritize customer engagement strategies.
When organizations consider different ways that a customer may interact with a brand, it becomes quickly evident that customer experience requires a coordinated strategy that supports people, process, technology, and data to create omnichannel experiences.
But first, organizations must understand what customers truly need to achieve positive customer experiences.

Cultivating customer engagement best practices

In their research on customer engagement, DT Consulting used the Customer Experience Quotient (CXQ) model to measure the perceptions HCPs had about an organization 1. This model measures the degree of trust, relevance, and simplicity that an HCP perceives in their interactions with a particular company. While this model is an excellent way to determine how an HCP feels about a past interaction, this rubric is insufficient to create a strategy designed specifically to meet an HCP’s needs.
How do organizations take these three attributes and make them actionable when creating a ground-up approach for designing a customer-centric experience?
To change the status quo, organizations must have an actionable plan for creating interactions that meet HCP needs. There are three key engagement attributes central to every customer interaction. Organizations can use these attributes to build an integrated strategy across their organization and cross-functional teams.
The first engagement attribute is one that is found in the CXQ model—relevancy. Providing relevant information and content that is both up-to-date and personalized in the way the HCP wants to engage is most likely to provide greater value that will result in the customer engaging more fully with the information.
The second is responsiveness. When a customer has questions or a request, make it an organizational priority to get back to them in a timely way that meets their expectations. Creating and developing a plan that focuses on responsiveness will foster both trust and simplicity.
The last engagement attribute is coordination. Nothing is more frustrating when an organization provides different answers from different people, having to wait and repeat your questions, or having multiple representatives engaging an HCP within a short window of time. A coordinated strategy respects the customer’s time and energy and assures that all interactions are purposeful. This attribute is also a concrete way to create trust with a customer through simple or easy interactions.
Relevancy: Provide the most up-to-date, timely and personalized information/content the way the customer wants to receive it.
Responsiveness: Respond to and/or address inquiries or requests in a relatively short period of time to foster customer confidence.
Coordination: Purposefully integrate interactions to maximize customers’ time and enhance the value the organization offers.
When organizations pair these attributes with strategies and a framework that address the current model’s challenges, organizations have the potential to create exceptional customer experiences.

Successfully redefining an organizational approach to customer experience

To be successful, organizations must address the current customer engagement challenges and redefine the way they approach customer experience. Rather than seeing customer experience as simply one part of the process, organizations need to approach customer experiences the way they approach launching a new product to market.
1. Change organizational focus to customer experience
Cultivating a customer-centric culture and delivering a thoughtful customer experience require coordination across all parts of the organization.
Everyone from the executive leadership team to the support services team needs to adopt the paradigm shift that focuses on making sure customers feel seen and valued. Placing customer engagements at the center of the organization highlights how important it is to have each branch of the organization involved in creating a quality customer experience.
2. Pursue alignment across the organization
Ownership of customer engagements is critical to ensure cross-functional alignment, which will limit organizational confusion, disruption, and program delays. It is imperative for customer engagement leadership to pull the strategic thread throughout the organization. Executive sponsorship is necessary for cross-functional leaders to advocate, align, support, and advise when implementing a new customer engagement model along with its omnichannel strategies.
3. Focus on prioritizing resources to elevate customer experiences
Creating and developing a customer-centric culture is a journey that require investment and resources to support the organizational shift. If parts of the organization lack resources, funding, and support, they will not prioritize it. Appropriate resourcing should focus on people, process, technology, and data as these organizations look to focus on customer engagement.

Leveraging a digital-first approach and omnichannel alleviates challenges

Organizations that focus on interactions rooted in data intelligence are more likely to derive a more positive customer experience and deliver better overall results. Well-orchestrated omnichannel strategies provide continuous data that is always active and constantly informing the strategy. Leveraging the use of digital-first touchpoints paired with field team interactions better informs a more coherent and coordinated customer experience.

Adopting a customer-centric organizational framework provides a structure to drive change

Too often change management is an afterthought. Adopting an overarching organizational framework has the potential to provide a structure to address internal challenges and create a culture where the customer is at the center of the conversation.
The CX Mobilizing Omnichannel Digital Experience for Life Sciences (Cx MODELS) framework was designed to address the needs of organizations that seek to embark on the change journey of creating an organizational-wide customer-centric experience. The goal of CxMODELS is to create a framework that positions the needs of the customer at the heart of the organization. It also supports omnichannel strategies by focusing on identifying the layers of the organization associated with supporting customer interactions.
At the foundation of life sciences, integrity should be a key ingredient to the success of any program or work that is considered. This model is no different and should value the benefits of legal, compliance, and privacy aspects when developing any strategies within a customer engagement model.

Incorporating customer insights across the organization powers optimized customer experiences

The key to creating truly successful customer experiences based on individual needs and preferences can only be realized when we understand the power of seamlessly incorporating customer insights across the organization.
CX MODELS was created as an integrated model to deliver a unified experience while capturing customer insights, and it is flexible enough to be implemented in any size life science organization. With a digital-first approach, we have the potential to glean insight into what customers want and need so that we can deliver the right message at the right time to each customer. Organizations can create a coordinated approach that delivers these messages on their preferred channels at the preferred time.

Pursuing a path toward optimized customer experiences and revenue growth

The research clearly shows that prioritizing HCP’s and fostering positive customer experiences has the potential to pay dividends by cultivating trust and ongoing positive interactions.
Prioritizing being relevant, responsive, and creating a coordinated process for HCP interactions as well as adopting a customer engagement framework like CX MODELS can also lay the groundwork to drive organizational change and lasting results.
It is clear when life sciences organizations focus on creating an orchestrated omnichannel strategy built on the foundation of a customer-centric culture and data intelligence, they have the potential to drive enhanced access to HCP engagements, maximize the value of interactions, and optimize ROI in the coming years.

Thoughts from Indegene experts

Jay Schwartz, VP Customer Engagement, Indegene

When building a truly optimized customer experience, the data utilized to evaluate progress cannot be limited to one data source. Too often, prescription prescribing data is utilized to determine customer success. While this measure is a critical component, it should not be evaluated in the absence of other key customer measures.
Understanding how the customer is engaging with the organization and therapeutic offering can be measured by interactions with the salesforce, medical liaisons, digital medium, product access specialists, and so on. It is critical to see the full picture to understand the level and magnitude of customer engagement. If one area of engagement is low, it may be the critical piece to unlock customer advocacy in support of product selection.

Peter Marchesini, SVP Commercialization Solutions, Indegene

While things are changing, there is so much that stays the same. The essence of commercial promotion is that you have relevant messaging that needs to get to the HCP. Whether it is done through a human channel or a digital channel, your goal is for the message you sent to be properly received, understood, and lead to appropriate patient utilization.
To rely on any one channel of communication is inefficient and incomplete. Not taking a personalized approach into account is not taking advantage of the tools and data that are needed to create an efficient approach. To treat any one of these digital channels as a tactic rather than giving it the same time and attention we have given to reps is not understanding how our customer base wants to receive their product and scientific information. You can choose to waste time, energy, and effort...but eventually someone will ask you why you have not explored, in a thoughtful way, a digital approach in combination with your sales team.

References

1.
DT Consulting, The State Of Customer Experience In The Pharmaceutical Industry, 2021: HCP Interaction, February 2022
2.
Veeva Pulse Field Data 2022
3.
Bain Global Physician Pharma Survey 2021
4.
Health Care Dive, Nearly half of physician practices owned by hospitals, corporate entities, report finds, June 2021

Authors

Markus Hinderberger
Markus Hinderberger
Nancy Phelan
Nancy Phelan
Brooke Anderson
Brooke Anderson
Jay Schwartz
Jay Schwartz
Peter Marchesini
Peter Marchesini

Insights to build #FutureReadyHealthcare