Eyeforpharma eMarketing 2010 Berlin take-away No. 2: Customer service has arrived

Just as other industries have been forced by customer attitudes, commoditised products and squeezing margins to focus on the customer needs instead of product features, so pharma must now.  And digital channels mean our customers are butterflies: alternative content, messages, relationships are just a click away.  We have to deliver REALLY excellent service if customers are going to want to deal with us.  Digital is, in fact, making us better service providers. 

So at eyeforpharma we heard a great deal about simply delivering what people want.   We are not satisfied with our efforts yet – 68% of the audience said that the pharmaceutical industry does not generally provide good customer service. 

Online, some of our best efforts are largely Web 1.0, which is fine.  Therapy area portals, a “one-stop-shop” where physicians can get all the information they require on a given disease or therapy area, still top the list of “wants” from doctors.  There are some great examples out there, some pharma-sponsored, some not, some involve an element of discussion, some do not. For example – Pfizer professionals, Merck Engage, Doctors.net, Univardis, Doccheck, InCirculation.net, Novartis Oncology, BMJ Doc2Doc….

Kate Wagstaff of Ferring described providing clinical paper summaries for GPs on a GP portal once the sales force had been withdrawn from the product, Desmomelt.  This simple service increased intent to prescribe from 28 to 79%.  

Tom Pryzgoda and Tony Bondi of Abbott showed us several great examples of services to patients.  One that stuck in my mind was the “cool, edgy” iPhone app for young Chron’s disease patients, helpfully showing the location (and as I recall, the quality) of public toilets in the local area – the app is called, naturally, flushit.

Irina Osovskaya of Janssen- Cilag pointed out that we’ve gone from “information overload” to “interaction overload”.  For Concerta they have constructed an award-winning multi-channel campaign in ADHD – from disease awareness website to sales aid.    Irina also quoted Ian Maclaurin, Chairman of Tesco (often cited as a best-practice customer retention story): “Customer loyalty is not about how customers demonstrate their loyalty to us, it is about how we demonstrate our loyalty to them.”

More tomorrow on getting the basics right in delivering good digital customer service.

Meanwhile, at eyeforpharma for a bit of light relief we had a little game to steer your brand through digital marketing decision-making.  It’s now online so you might like to play Brand Bunny.  Enjoy!

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Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Kanga, a digital transformation agency. I help global companies with their digital strategy and projects. Most of my clients are pharmaceutical companies.

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by Kay Wesley of Kanga Health Ltd

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