How important is digital for the HCP customer experience?

The short answer? Incredibly!

Small, increasingly digital, interactions can have a big impact on future HCP engagement and actions.

HCPs are increasingly overwhelmed, there’s more and more information available and they have less and less time to go through it. So the quality and relevance of each touchpoint is becoming more and more crucial.

A hyper-relevant and timely interaction in the right format becomes the key to a good customer experience for the busy HCP. 

Key takeaways

Every interaction counts and can influence HCPs’ view about your company/product
A good customer experience increases future engagement. Only 36% of HCPs would reengage after a bad experience
HCPs want digital on their schedule, with an emphasis on recorded education. They prefer short and easy to consume content
Post-Covid, HCPs want multi-person events, also in virtual formats. They want less interaction with reps and more digital information on an as-needed basis
Improve HCP customer experience with a better sales and marketing integration – performant and accessible digital channels – delivering the content HCP want, where and when they want it
Be where your HCPs want you. Do you have a clear HCP digital landscape and do you deliver content in the right format, through the right channels?

Every interaction counts

HCPs interact multiple times with a pharmaceutical company before prescribing – but their experience of each one of these interactions, from small to big, can change how they feel about your product and your company. 

Improve the customer experience of these small interactions for a dramatic increase in customer engagement. 

A 2022 report from DT Consulting, based on feedback from over 2,000 HCPs, provides some interesting insights. 

One the main insights is the growing preference for digital and virtual interaction over the non digital or in person interactions. Yet, pharmaceutical companies continue to over-provide in person and non digital options.

The following article summarises the main findings of the report.

A good customer experience increases future engagement

75% of HCPs were more likely to engage further with a specific pharmaceutical company after a good customer experience. 

After a bad experience only 36% of HCPs would reengage.

The maximum quality customer experience must be the goal of every touchpoint between an HCP and the pharmaceutical company. Digital channels allow easier quality management than in-person interactions. 

HCPs want digital on their schedule

Traditionally pharmaceutical companies have relied heavily on in-person interactions.

But, ask the HCPs for their preference, and they want more digital content with an emphasis on recorded education (webinars, congresses etc) so they can learn on their own schedule. 

In fact, even phone and email connections with representatives are preferred over face to face. 

A focus on designing clear, easy to access digital channels could improve HCP satisfaction and engagement. But HCP preferences for short, easy to consume content on their schedule must be factored into the concept.

chart of preferred and received hcp touchpoints

Digital Touchpoints – Marketing: 

  • Online or virtual meeting
  • Recorded webcast / webinar / congress
  • Visited the company website/portal
  • Read company-sponsored info on an independent site
  • Mobile app on a phone or tablet
  • Reading or reacting to a social media post
  • Read an email newsletter

Digital Touchpoints – Sales/Medical:

  • Read an email from a sales representative
  • Read a direct email from a sales representative
  • Spoke with a live online medical representative
  • Read an email from a medical representative

Non Digital Touchpoints:

  • Met face-to-face in your office with a sales representative
  • Spoke on the phone with a sales representative
  • Spoke live online with a sales representative
  • Met face-to-face in your office with a medical representative
  • Spoke on the phone with a medical representative
  • Large in-person Company-sponsored event
  • Small in-person Company-sponsored event
  • Company-sponsored Congress booth
  • Read a physical newsletter

Multi person events but virtual meetings

Post Covid HCPs want to return to both small and large in-person company-sponsored events – probably as a response to low colleague interactions during the recent period! So this might be a short term spike which could still evolve. 

But, more interestingly, online / virtual meetings are still preferred over in-person events for all other interactions.

The trend of digital over in-person continues!

HCPs are happy with much less interaction with sales and medical reps, preferring to find information digitally on an “as needed” basis. 

This means that in person interactions need to be highly focused while information on digital channels must be clear and easily available to increase the HCPs experience.

How to improve HCP customer experience

Better integration between sales and marketing 

Despite the fact that most interactions are managed directly by sales and medical reps, HCPs are increasingly asking to have more digital- based interactions and considering more information coming from websites, apps, social media

It is important that sales and medical reps recognise this need and be able to direct and coordinate digital sources of information for HCPs

Improve performance and accessibility of digital channels 

Even though HCPs express a clear preference for digital communication, those still play a marginal role in the overall interaction between pharma companies and HCPs. 

The accessibility of quality digital content must be improved in line with HCP preferences. 

Understand and deliver digital content HCPs want

Analyze HCP behavior and needs to really understand the digital landscape your HCP inhabits. 

Which channels do they prefer? Which content type is most requested? Does this align with your marketing strategy?

A detailed HCP digital landscape, including regional variations, is critical to delivering great customer experiences at the time and place your HCPs want them. 

Be where your HCPs are online, with the content they want in the format they request

Be where your HCPs want you

Digital customer experience for HCPs is the critical frontier for pharmaceutical companies post 2020.

It’s no longer enough to rely on face to face sales channels and a website – digital campaigns must deliver key content in a timely and relevant manner in a format that suits the HCP. 

Do you have a detailed HCP digital landscape? 

Is your messaging being delivered in a format that suits your HCPs? 

Are you delivering in the right channels?  

If you (and your agency!) can’t answer those questions perhaps now is the time to dig into the digital preferences of your HCPs to really deliver a great customer experience.