Why CXM in life sciences? That's a good question.

04.01.21 08:32 PM By Hans Vanderwegen

Since a number of years Customer Experience Management (CXM) is a hot topic in the industry. Originally and very often, driven from teams in sales & marketing or customer service. Perceived as another attempt to drive up sales through improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. However, now the industry understands there is much more to this: customer experience management generates a new world of opportunities for more valuable customer interactions. CXM enables a deeper focus on patients and accelerates your brand promises. With CXM patients are coming first.

"Patient First" mandates. 

Most life science companies have a "patient first" mandate in their mission statement. Quite explicitly. From large pharmaceuticals to small pharmacies. In order to follow up on their brand promises, they are now investing in improved customer experience across their eco system towards the patient. In the current landscape, customers and patients are simply expecting more from their providers and brands. Much more than just products and services. And they are vocal about it.

Higher expectations

This transformation is happening at global scale in all life science segments. Biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, cell therapies, medical devices, all of them are starting to act. And with them, they involve the entire end-to-end business process including distributors, hospitals, retirement homes, and even the small pharmacies. All of them are investing in improved experiences for their customers. From pre-clinical, over supply chain and commercial to drug administration. Not only once, but for the entire live of a patient and the family. Customers want to experience a positive relationship when interacting during their journey. Implementing CX allows actors to better interact to the benefit of their patients.

Advancing technologies

The higher customer needs are complemented by the immense acceleration of new digital technologies and innovations. Technologies are used to augment, complement and transform current processes and interactions. Customers are actively participating along their journeys, moments of truth are changing. To stay competitive, all actors must embrace these new options when evaluating their customer journeys. Focussing on products is not enough to meet customer expectations. Patients do expect more to stay satisfied and loyal. At the same time, these new technologies are being used during early development phases and allow life science actors to accelerate time to market and lower their delivery costs.

A complex landscape

Life science is a complex B2B, B2C and B2P landscape with many actors directly or indirectly interacting with partners. Some actors might need patient interactions for product development purposes, while others might need the same interactions for commercial purposes. In addition, the life science industry has an extremely wide range of interacting therapeutic areas with specific needs. Better customer experience management accelerates product development, lowers costs, increases revenues and results in improved healthcare for all of us. And the benefits are mutual: even for the small pharmacies and practices in our towns, customer experience helps to build higher patient satisfaction and loyalty levels.

Options and priorities

Over the last few years, we see a strong growth of tools and solutions acting in the CXM arena. Some examples of technology options and components to engage customers include social media management, marketing automation, CPQ, content management, chat services, customer profiling, cross-channel management, service recovery management, patient trial enrolment, digital advertising. The list is endless. From all of these tools, which one should you select for your company, your products, your therapeutic area, your business division? Which tools are meeting the specific business and technical requirements of particular life science actors? Many questions that need to be answered to prioritise well.

Time to start now

Due to the end-to-end complexity, the implementation process takes time. And we have a long way ahead of us. Some companies still need to start understanding what customer experience management is all about. They still question if they really need to invest in it or not. However, successful CXM even requires fundamental changes from companies in many areas beyond the technology only: culture, leadership, product development are some examples. Silos need to be broken. Similar to other sectors, life sciences need to become much more customer-centric from early phases onwards. In fact, technology is the easy part of the entire story. A story that only accelerates. 

There is no way back and this hurts.

Where do you stand today?

Are you already discussing CX at C-level? Does your company understand what needs to happen? Are your leaders acting upon this?

Hans Vanderwegen