Today’s concept of the connected rep is about more than adding digital channels to the arsenal; it requires an integration of touchpoints across channels that creates a seamless high-value customer experience [Cx].
For many years we have discussed the evolution of the role of the Pharma rep – from promotional message delivery to curating personalised content that takes a customer on a journey of discovery through adoption. This evolution is highly dependent upon the organisation’s attitude to letting go of the old ways, building capabilities internally to support the desired new ways, and willingness to empower the field force as a key player in executing the multichannel [MC] strategy.
The case for the connected rep is strong. A multichannel rep strategy can:
- increase overall reach and frequency on high potential customers;
- uncover new insights from previously untapped individuals and segments;
- drive traffic to digital channels;
- and contribute significantly to the delivery of a superior customer experience,
- all of which should lead to a higher impact on the performance of the company.
The connected rep should be able to leverage their traditional face-to-face calls to other channel interactions, adding value through more personalised service and providing access to additional relevant content. Some examples might be engagements via email, SMS and virtual calls. The rep should also be able to drive HCP traffic to educational meetings, KOL webinars and therapy area websites or patient support solutions.
A good MC strategy connects all relevant channels and content, based on a clear understanding of the value each contributes to the overall customer journey. Content must be fit for the channel and the holistic MC experience. The MC journey is rarely standardised or linear. Each customer can enter or exit at any point in any order.
The connected rep benefits from improved information about the customers and their interests or needs and thus will make better decisions on where to direct the customer, how the customer can gain more value from the company, which ultimately will bring about higher customer satisfaction, along with better patient outcomes and company performance.
Customer Experience and Customer Journey
If we are able to understand what the customer needs to achieve better patient outcomes, we can create the Cx based on relevant content in the preferred channels for each persona. It is this alignment to the customer, the conversation, and the objective that brings high personal value to the customer and also to the rep.
A customer journey map is a valuable tool to help you select high-value opportunities according to their potential impact. Journey Mapping can seem overwhelming because you need to consider all the variables, channels and possible pathways a customer might take in the Omnichannel experiences with your organisation.
However, a good Customer Journey map will:
- Be customer focused;
- Provide information to cross-functional teams of what actions need to be taken;
- Identify opportunities to add value and the type of content needed;
- Identify strengths and weaknesses of current interactions; and
- Identify any siloed activities within the organisation that need modification to ensure a consistent experience across your company touchpoints.
This customer journey map should include clear opportunities for the rep to interact and share content – in person, via email, SMS, telephone, web meeting or even in print. MC data will inform the rep of each customer’s interaction patterns so the rep can then tailor the next interaction to deepen engagement and build customer confidence and trust in the messages and content.
Customer experience [Cx] is the sum of all interactions customers have with your organisation: it includes the stages of awareness, initiation, engagement and advocacy…and everything in between. Thinking more specifically, it is created from individual user experiences [Ux] with your rep, website, app, support solution or even treatment advice from any source.
If your goal is to engage the customer in their preferred channels with relevant content, the connected rep has an important role to play. Work backwards from the customer journey map, rather than trying to identify a limited number of channels that the organisation wants to utilise more generally. Of course, you will not want to undertake all channels without the competency to deliver a good customer experience. Developing a more sophisticated journey over time, perfecting each step before adding new channels, is a much better approach.
The Role of Data
The value of the rep has shifted – once a primary source of scientific information for HCPs relating to relevant disease states and related products, to potentially tapping into complex combinations of data sources to help HCPs stay up to date with therapeutic areas and available products and services, via a variety of channels beyond the rep themselves. By using data analytics across channel activities, and having access to online real-time updates, the value of the rep is now evolving to a curator of content, a connector of sorts, and a communication pathway, to sort and feed information to the HCP in digestible chunks.
The connected rep can reduce the time and effort of HCPs scanning massive amounts of information via multiple sources. The rep can use their own interactions and data monitoring to understand the content the customer is interested in and serve up relevant content at the right time.
At the end of any customer touch-point is an employee. Ensure everyone understands the Customer Journey map, desired customer experience and the strategy behind each. A critical success factor will be getting the right tools and content in the hands of the rep to better improve the overall performance of your strategy.
Article Contributor: Melanie Brown, Managing Partner
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The Actando Consulting Team