How to strengthen HCP relationships through a joined up digital experience

Ensuring a consistent, seamless customer experience for your HCPs will strengthen your customer relationships. Learn why and how you should do it.

Doctor speaking to patient with digital tablet

Launching new digital products and services is exciting. You and your teams identify a business need and rapidly come up with a digital solution that addresses it. It’s fast-paced, often reactionary, and feels like the right thing to do. But, where does the voice of your customer sit in the process? And did you consider where your product or service sits in the wider digital landscape for your organisation?

Pharma teams have the drive — and usually the budgets — to begin new digital projects and move them forward at speed. The final solutions that are created are usually built off the back of individual projects or by single departments, and devised to solve one specific problem. More often than not, they are developed in silo, rather than as holistic services that are designed to work at scale, in sync, and to meet multiple customer needs. 

This leads to huge inconsistency in terms of the customer experience for HCPs, both online and across other touchpoints such as contact centres, and direct relationships with specific departments or colleagues. 

The pandemic exacerbated this problem, with teams under pressure to rapidly get things online,  replicate offline processes and ensure business continuity. Digital “quick fixes” were launched at never before seen speed out of necessity, without a long-term view of how they would work for customers or fit into the wider network of products and services that together form the ‘customer experience’. Metrics to validate success or failure were also often overlooked.   

An inconsistent digital ecosystem for HCPs

Looking specifically at digital, HCPs have multiple entry points in terms of the interactions they have with your organisation. On any one day, they may refer to your product microsites; visit the samples ordering platform; introduce a patient to one of your patient-facing apps or websites; access CPD resources via a training portal. 

Often, there is very little consistency across these different touchpoints. From tool-to-tool, the design, visual identity, tone of voice,  terminology used, information architecture, and overall user experience can be completely different. 

The implications of this — aside from the obvious issues in terms of your brand reputation — are that the lives of your customers are made more difficult by having to plot their own course through your platforms and tools, essentially having to forge their own digital customer experience. 

HCPs may get pushed out of one system into another to complete a simple task, having to log in and verify their identity multiple times. Conflicting information across platforms can lead to uncertainty and necessitate a call to your contact centre or their Rep/Account Manager. The use of different icons to represent the same call to action leads to confusion and frustration. 

When your customers are time-poor HCPs working in high-pressure environments, a seamless, joined-up digital customer experience that facilitates intuitive interactions, simple completion of tasks, and quick access to information is crucial. 

Achieving it will help you build trust with your HCPs by providing them with control over the experience so that they can access information and services as convenient for them. By empowering HCPs to have this control, you stop simply broadcasting marketing messages, and begin to have a genuine connection and conversation. 

This starts at the point where you consider what value you can add to their day by reducing pain points, giving them time back, or simply making something frictionless. These are all things that are easier to achieve with a joined-up, coherent digital customer experience.

Surgeon sat in their office using a computer

Great for your customers, and your business

Taking steps towards ensuring a joined-up experience across multiple touchpoints will not only strengthen your customer relationships, but bring many other business benefits. These are centred around efficiency and future-proofing your organisation for growth as more and more interaction takes place online. 

By building an ecosystem of digital products that work in-sync with a unified strategy, you’ll avoid wasting money and effort maintaining services that are not being used, or could be combined to do the same thing. You’ll avoid the wasted effort of generating content that is duplicated across products — and the expense of getting that content approved. You’ll also reduce the burden on your customer support teams by lessening the need for assistance with straightforward day-to-day tasks.

Through addressing your digital customer experience holistically, you’ll also begin to facilitate the modernising of the traditional “sales rep” role — something that many pharma organisations are grappling with at the moment. By having easy-to-use digital tools and minimising the need for unnecessary assistance, with processes that HCPs should be able to conduct independently — and when convenient for them — you give your field teams the space to evolve the relationship into one that is more educational by nature. This helps add value to the relationship, and ultimately builds trust. 

Start joining up your HCP experience

Taking the first steps to address your digital customer experience can feel like a daunting process. But when managed right, change is positive. And doing it now is more important than ever. 

Step 1: Map and audit your current customer experience 

The first thing to do is to map all touchpoints for HCPs within your current infrastructure. You need a holistic oversight of all existing tools, platforms, departments, external vendors, and services and how they interlink. You should ensure that you understand their functionality, the content they hold, and who is using them for what purpose. 

Step 2: Deepening understanding

Next, you need to deepen your understanding of the current situation. The best way to do this is by speaking to your customers. Hearing from different teams, departments, stakeholders, and HCPs will help you to focus on making improvements in the areas that matter to them most and allow them to achieve their goals faster. 

Step 3: Defining priorities and building a roadmap

Balancing both business and customer needs, you’ll need to develop a prioritised strategic roadmap that clearly sets out each stage of implementation. Prioritise based on the effort required and customer impact, so the roadmap is informed and doesn’t just go after the low-hanging fruit. 

Step 4: Implementation 

When your roadmap has been signed off internally, you’ll be ready to start implementing the changes to your digital ecosystem. This will be a carefully coordinated, step-by-step process that seeks maximum gains from minimal effort and disruption. 

 

Importantly, work with an expert who will guide you through the process and the stages, and bring practical solutions to the table — not just tell you the problem.

It isn’t unreasonable to want your products and services to succeed. By engaging everyone in the process and investing in a holistic approach you will build a winning mentality and a solid foundation for the future. 

No matter how big the problem may feel, we can help you take the incremental steps that will allow you to tackle it and bring value to your business. Our clients turn to us as the facilitator throughout this process. We bring teams together to align on one shared vision for your digital customer experience. 

So, ask yourself if you’ve thought deeply enough about your customers and planned their digital experience carefully enough to maximise your relationships.