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Novel IT approaches for successful healthcare provider engagement

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the commercialization of pharmaceutical products globally. Healthcare provider (HCP) information-seeking needs and preferences have transitioned dramatically in this scenario. The pharmaceutical industry needs to redefine its engagement model to stay abreast with this changing landscape. Through these unprecedented times, HCPs and pharma companies have been able to stay connected digitally via remote (phone, web conference) and non-personal (email, website) engagements by establishing a new norm. An Accenture research validates the same – 80% of HCPs would prefer an all-digital or a combination of in-person and digital interactions with the pharma sales rep.

The key to a successful HCP-centric engagement is personalization. Contract Sales Organizations (CSOs) can start by assessing their CRM capabilities to empower sales and marketing teams with the right data at the right time. By adopting novel approaches like virtual interactions, omnichannel engagement, AI-driven insights, and personalized on-demand content, pharmaceutical CSOs can position themselves at a competitive advantage in the marketplace. These approaches will help create a personalized HCP journey, thereby increasing the overall reach and improving HCP satisfaction.

With decades of experience in customer experience transformation, Hexaware extends a helping hand partnering with pharmaceutical contract sales organizations to expedite their digital transformation journey. We offer strategic insights that enable our clients to unlock new opportunities and deliver state-of-the-art solutions coupled with the accelerated rollout.

We have enabled digital transformation post-COVID-19 for a leading Contract Sales Organization in the US, servicing the top 50 global pharma companies primarily by supporting their sales and marketing activities on new drug launches. Our key activities encompassed:

  • Building our client’s new business model for HCP engagement
  • Empowering their sales reps, medical service liaisons (MSLs), Key Account Managers (KAMs), and marketing teams with the right digital solutions

Customer-Centric Remote Engagement

Though COVID-19 has brought numerous obstacles to customer engagement in the pharmaceutical industry, it has revealed several opportunities for shaping the path to the next normal. The seismic shift towards digital health practices by healthcare organizations has also impacted the pharmaceutical commercialization strategy. With the in-person selling model coming to a screeching halt, the industry leaders had to focus on strategic rethinking for pharmaceutical sales to continue and for the commercial teams to quickly adapt to the new ways of working. 

A survey held in 2020 indicated that 43% of HCPs said they were restricting pharma representatives from visiting their office; of those, 28% said the restrictions would be permanent, and 28% expect the restrictions to be for the foreseeable future. It is estimated that in a post-COVID-19 world, 70% of engagements will occur through a digital medium. Pharmaceutical Contract Sales Organizations (CSOs), therefore, need to adjust to the new engagement model and scale up their current ecosystem with the right technology and digital tools for the sales team to gain a deeper understanding of customer needs in a remote or hybrid setting and to operate within self-sustaining, agile feedback loops.  

Hexaware’s persona-based remote engagement solution enables contract sales organizations to fast-track their commercial team’s transition from a face-to-face setting to a virtual engagement model. Our prebuilt accelerators with AI-driven components and human-centered design enable the sales team to deliver the right message at the right time, facilitating on-demand connect based on HCP preferences. Our unified platform includes,  

  • a state-of-the-art patient engagement portal enabling holistic understanding of patient journeys, driving medication adherence, simplifying reporting of adverse events and motivation through real-time insights of health data 
  • an HCP self-service portal with on-demand content and inbuilt virtual connect 
  • service agent portal with omnichannel engagement capabilities and an AI-driven bot that handles routine requests and intelligent call routing, reducing agent workload by ~30%   

The Digital Push To Pharmaceutical Sales & Marketing Post COVID-19

In the wake of COVID-19, pharmaceutical organizations around the globe are looking to boost and redefine their businesses. The pandemic has given pharma’s commercial leaders a clear imperative to invest in and build the capabilities to create a multichannel strategy that serves HCPs with what they want, when they want, and how they want it.  This has, in turn, propelled Pharmaceutical Contract Sales Organizations (CSOs) to quickly transform pharma sales strategy and function from a face-to-face (F2F) to a remote engagement model to stay abreast in this hypercompetitive market. By partnering with a leading provider of digital transformation services, pharmaceutical CSOs can fast-track their journey towards building an ‘HCP-centered sales organization’ through personalized content, on-demand services, and multichannel strategy.  

To enrich customer experience in pharma, driven by digital transformation, we offer the requisite support for CSOs to enhance and expand their commercialization services at scale. Being a strategic partner for some of the largest global pharmaceutical organizations and CSOs, we understand what it takes to rapidly transition from a ‘push promotion’ to a customer-centric engagement model in the post-COVID world.  

Our team is comprised of experts in digital transformation. They bring domain knowledge as well as digital skills to customer engagements. With deep expertise in customer experience transformation, innovation, automation, data, and our subsidiary Mobiquity we enable clients to reimagine and reengineer customer interactions. We couple industry best practices and technology to help CSOs mitigate risks and drive operational efficiency through 

  • digital transformation consulting for enabling top-line growth and reduce operational costs 
  • Recommending technology enablers and offering pre-built accelerators to augment faster implementations and showcase the business value 

Augmenting Pharmaceutical Contact Centers Through Post-COVID Era

Contract Sales organizations (CSOs) have been enabling pharma companies to successfully run Patient Assistance Programs (PAP) by providing contact center services that aim to support patients through medication affordability, treatment adherence and QoL improvements. With contact centers being worst hit by the pandemic, customer experience in the pharmaceutical sector and customer service leaders have been facing massive disruption in contact center operations. Some of the major challenges include 

  • handling spikes in call volumes with historically long wait times 
  • high call abandon rates 
  • higher rates of customer churn 
  • high agent absenteeism rates 
  • urgent need to enable a fully remote pharmaceutical call center 
  • providing agents with the technology necessary for routing voice calls to a remote location 
  • accommodating agent work schedules and handling voice calls from a potentially chaotic home workspace 

The emotional state of customers adds to these challenges. The post-pandemic scenario also requires pharma organizations to reassess patient needs and determine how to adjust their programs accordingly. 

In this period of uncertainty, contact centers need to evolve fast. It has become critical for CSOs to rapidly scale up their contact center operations with the necessary technology for mitigating these challenges, improving patient experience and building a responsive team that serves patients with compassion.  

Hexaware has extensive experience in enabling remote and virtual contact center transformation for COVID-19 rescue studies, clinical trials, and patient support services for the largest CROs (Clinical Research Organizations) and top pharma sponsors in the world. We can help you fast-track this journey by ramping up superior clinical capabilities, a custom digital approach with omnichannel engagement capabilities, language handling and leveraging cost efficiencies via purposeful transformation. ​ 

We helped our client, one of the leading global CROs, set up a ‘responsive contact center’ with empathy-focused contact center agents with the right skill mix servicing 100+ countries in 25+ languages, transforming customer journey through the COVID-19 rescue studies from Day 1​. Intelligent chatbot and email automation were leveraged to reduce contact center operational cost and improve patient experience. 

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