It makes sense, doesn’t it? As consumers we are no longer just interested in what we are buying, we’re also paying more attention to who we are buying it from – we seek out fair trade coffee and now, we want to know who is developing the medications we take. The pharma industry has always been one step removed from the customer due to strict marketing regulations, but now patients are showing more appetite to understand and interact with drug companies. 1 in 3 online consumers (36 percent) are interested in receiving customer service from the pharmaceutical industry. According to health economist and management consultant Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, customers want to learn about prescription drugs “right from the source.”
This presents a golden opportunity for pharma companies to cast off the shackles of a faceless corporation and develop relationships with the customers who use their products. It’s a chance to dispel some of the myths and help customers. Pharma companies are grabbing that chance by offering more channels to contact customers and promoting these channels proactively through their websites and social media.
But there are dangers here. Pharma can only improve its relationship with patients if the interactions it offers are good experiences. History is also in some ways a handicap – they have little to no experience in dealing with a high-volume of consumer interactions. As the amount of engaged patients increases, how can pharma companies provide an experience that actually improves their standing with consumers?
The Power of Interactive Voice Response
Intelligent voice solutions can facilitate a dynamic interaction with the caller, empowering customers to resolve inquiries quickly and easily. Cloud-based Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions can also be integrated via a secure web connection to any backend system (e.g. CRM, databases, web services) for real-time personalization of the caller experience and data capture of information such as patient history and preferences.
Patients are now seeking out convenient and quick information for new and existing drugs and prescriptions, and they are coming to the horse’s mouth for the answers. It’s imperative to make sure they can get that information in a convenient, personalized way.
To find out more about how pharmaceutical companies can deliver an experience that works for the patient, read our pharmaceutical industry brief.
Much of the discourse around the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on pharmaceutical companies has centered on the $80 billion agreed in rebates and to what degree the increased pool of patients will help offset this cost. From a customer service point of view, the industry has focused on how to service the new patients created by the bill, but the impact is much more far reaching if you zoom out and look at the macro picture.
Among the many impacts of the Affordable Care Act is the provision that penalizes hospitals for readmitting patients unnecessarily within 30 days of being discharged. Hospitals now face fines in the form of reduced Medicare reimbursements from the Government, and over 2,000 hospitals were penalized in the first month of the program – some as much as $1 million.
A Plethora of Players and Channels
Hospitals are understandably seeking to reduce readmission rates through preventative care and robust guidance for patients to ensure that they stay on track with the doctor’s instructions, diet, exercise and medication instructions. For this to be realistic, hospitals need to track and communicate closely with patients, and they need the help of multiple partners: primary care physicians, dieticians, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies. The dynamics have shifted towards collaborative care, where more parties are paying closer attention to a patient’s well-being. For drug companies, that means more questions from more interested parties.
Many of these healthcare professionals are under pressure to ensure that patients are using their medication to get the best outcomes (and thus avoid being back in the hospital waiting room). In the background, meanwhile, new channels such as mobile, social and web self-service apps are increasingly being used by both healthcare professionals and consumers to gather information about their regimen and medication.
Answering consumers’ and healthcare professionals’ queries both efficiently and securely becomes a formidable challenge even for pharmaceutical companies with sophisticated contact center operations. The need for cost-effective and efficient service options across multiple channels becomes clear. Whether pharmaceutical companies are currently prepared to answer that challenge might be a little less certain.
Learn more about how our solutions can help pharmaceutical companies overcome the challenges and pressures of changing regulations.
How do you most often take care of your personal banking needs today?
Years ago most people would have responded saying that they go to their local branch, but today online banking and mobile are dominating the customer banking interaction. According to Alan Mattei and Darryl Demos of Novantas, the contact center is becoming the go-to resource for remote customers, with fewer customers physically visiting the branch.
With customers increasingly turning to virtual banking, it’s important for retail banks to have a strong customer engagement strategy outside of the physical business walls and develop a multichannel customer experience that ensures customers can connect with the business on the channel that is most convenient for them.
As more and more customers take care of their personal banking needs with the mobile and web options available today, banks across the globe have should tailor their customer experience strategies to fit their customers’ preferences. For example, in a recent post by Rick Spitler, Managing Director at Novantas said, “Retail customers now conduct roughly six of every seven banking transactions outside of the branch, mostly through electronic alternatives.”
Rich raises a valid point – customers are becoming more and more comfortable with conducting their day-to-day banking needs such as depositing checks with their mobile devices, making payments and checking account balances online or over the phone. This means that Click here to read more »
The cloud is normally examined by the internal businesses benefits and the impact it will have on company operations – but what about the end goal?
Business operations are constantly being evaluated to improve internal communications, but a business would be nothing without one thing: its customers.
The cloud provides businesses with a platform that is secure, reliable and less expensive than on-premise solutions. Businesses are able to collaborate faster and stay connected from any location, enabling them to create a better customer experience (CX) for their customers.
How does the cloud play into keeping customers happy? It all comes down to the following:
Flexibility – Having access to your personal or business data from any location is by far the biggest benefit the cloud. For example, businesses have realized the benefit of providing easy scalability to customers and are now duplicating its success onto mobile platforms to create their own mobile applications and provide easy-access to their customers.
Personalization – By having access to past customer behaviors through cloud-based analytics platforms, companies are able to provide completely personalized interactions, build more customized solutions and address concerns based on what they already know to further customize Click here to read more »
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Happy New Year! With so many companies ready to start this year off fresh, we’ve been thinking a lot about giving back. While businesses would normally dig deep into their pockets to help those in need, we’ve been thinking, why not leverage cloud technology for good this year?
The cloud has become the foundation for many technology products and there is a huge opportunity for businesses to donate their cloud services to charity organizations. The cloud makes it possible for companies to quickly and seamlessly deploy applications from anywhere, making it easy for cloud businesses to help charities/non-profits since tech products don’t normally fit into their budgets.
According to an article in the Washington Post, this is something several cloud companies have thought about and have recently used their cloud services to not only improve internal operations, but to also enhance how they give back to their communities.
At Angel, we worked with Our Neighbor’s Child, a non-profit, community-based organization, which provides holiday gifts for children in low income families in western Fairfax County, VA. We donated our customer experience outbound technology to better connect the organization with families, confirm gift deliveries, and monitor the effectiveness of each conversation. With the cloud, Our Neighbor’s Child was able to cut down the time volunteers had to manually spend in the past calling homes to confirm and schedule gift deliveries, which overall resulted in a 96% success rate and a delightful holiday experience.
Other examples of ways cloud companies can use their expertise and internal resources to give back are: Click here to read more »