An omnichannel engagement strategy for life science companies5 min read
How life science companies can transform data insights into a meaningful customer experience
The life sciences industry is experiencing a market disruption that cannot be ignored. The ability of life science companies to engage meaningfully with healthcare professionals (HCPs) is more challenging, impacting the effectiveness of traditional communication channels when sharing products and clinical information. It is critical for life science companies to consider an omnichannel engagement strategy to supply the right information, at the right time, through the right communication channel.
Initially, much of the life science industry implemented a multichannel strategy to augment traditional personal promotion models. In most cases, this approach stalled, creating fragmented, inefficient, and impersonal experiences. To deliver a more coordinated, personalized, and customer-centric approach to engagement, forward-thinking companies are moving to an omnichannel engagement strategy.
We sat down with thought leader, Steve LoSardo, Vice President of Life Science Solutions and Consulting at SoftServe, to talk about what omnichannel communication means to the life sciences industry, the importance of data, and how life science companies can take the first steps towards digital transformation.
How has the traditional model in the life sciences industry been disrupted?
Steve LoSardo: The traditional model has been the status quo for over 30 years. The reliance on personal promotion delivered by sales representatives was becoming difficult, even before the pandemic. Changes in how HCPs want to receive information, increases in administrative burden, and the adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) are cited as the major reasons HCPs are less available for face-to-face meetings. Life science companies realized reps needed a new way to maintain a relationship with the HCPs.
Things got bumpy when a multichannel approach was implemented. Companies started flooding the HCP with non-personal promotions like direct mail, web portals, virtual presentations, and mobile apps. The personal and non-personal promotion channels were not coordinated — and often repetitive — which overwhelmed HCPs. Companies realized they needed a better way to keep this relationship. That new way is omnichannel communication.
What does the new model look like?
SL: An omnichannel approach is customer-centered, cost-effective, and most importantly, data-driven. Rather than simply collecting siloed data and looking channel-by-channel, an omnichannel approach seeks a holistic view. This approach enhances the HCP experience by sending content tailored specifically to their needs.
For example, the HCP receives an email with information relevant to their practice area. They click a CTA (call to action) that takes them to a website with more information. Later the HCP is invited to a remote session to discuss what they have learned. During this meeting, the rep invites the HCP to a webinar that presents scientific data on the topic. The sales rep still has a key role — especially if the HCP is not digitally savvy. The sales rep function has evolved into an orchestrator of information.
How does data contribute to an omnichannel strategy?
SL: Data is the absolute foundation. Data is critical in laying the groundwork and setting the tone of the messaging. Data is generated from every HCP interaction and is used to better understand their interests, such as how many people watched a webinar, downloaded a PDF, or read an article.
If you have limited access to data, or you do not have the right data, or you have disparate data that is so unstructured that it is not usable, then you are not going to be able to implement an effective omnichannel strategy. If you have an abundance of quality data, then you can strengthen your relationships with your HCPs.
By applying AI/ML and natural language processing (NLP) integrations, you gain a deep understanding that translates into a personalized, seamless experience for each HCP. You want the omnichannel experience to transport your HCPs frictionlessly along their journey to get them where they need to be. And you can’t do that without the right infrastructure.
This format ensures the HCP receives the right message at the right time using the right channel. It allows for segmentation, for example, HCPs can be grouped according to preferences. It also allows for a continual cycle of testing a message, seeking outcomes, and retesting. It ensures the HCP is responding to the message.
How can life science companies take the first step toward a digital transformation?
SL: To effectively deliver omnichannel customer engagement, life science companies need to have the right infrastructure. A clear-cut digital transformation strategy is imperative to creating customer loyalty. SoftServe developed a transformation roadmap model to guide companies through the omnichannel journey. It reveals how well companies are engaging with HCPs through different channels. Once you know where your company is on the transformation roadmap, then you can assess what is needed to achieve digital maturity.
If you want to learn the steps your life science company can take to enable an omnichannel communication strategy, download our eguide.