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 Click here to read more »
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.
Dear Bad IVR,
Sorry I stopped contacting you…honestly? It’s not you, it’s me. I need more, I deserve more and I expect smartness and intelligence built into you. I do not call you to give me senseless menu options followed by submenus with long hold music and promotional advertisements and finally, after all the wait and frustration, MAYBE the option to talk to a human being. Excuse me! But I do not have patience to stay on the phone and choose from options one after the other in the hope of reaching a live person, which may or may not happen, based on how you are set up. My life is too busy, I don’t have time to sit and aimlessly answer these questions without getting any value out of it.
I am tired of getting lost in the menu options and complicated path. Most of the time I can’t find the category for the reason I call you and I end up getting transferred multiple times. Sometimes your speech systems are so terrible that they can’t understand what I am saying, hence I yell to talk to a representative and hang up eventually. I expect you to automatically recognize me when I call you back, pull my records, my order history, support tickets, or anything you have so that we don’t end up communicating about that for five minutes before you can help me solve my issue. I know you could do that by smartly integrating with the CRM systems and back end databases, so won’t you please just do it?
I wish our relationship could help in getting callers and customer support representatives to save time by introducing smart self-serve options. This could potentially help in getting more calls answered with a greater efficiency and would also help free up call center agents to deal with more important and critical issues/callers, leading to improvements in response time and customer experience. But, I guess our relationship did not work the way I expected it to.
I do apologize for Click here to read more »
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