10 Moments of Truth for Clinical & Commercial Pharma Customers

Customer Experience | Pharma | PeopleMetrics LIVE

Reading time: 48 minutes

Trusted Experience Management Partners

To fully embrace Pharma CX, the customer experience needs to be pervasive throughout Pharma organizations, from clinical to commercial. Every moment of truth. Every time. This may sound daunting, but it can be done for a fraction of your market research budget and the investment is well worth it.

In this session, we walk through 10 universal "moment of truth" touch points throughout the pharma patient journey, and discuss some of the results our pharmaceutical industry clients have seen from proactively creating, measuring and managing these clinical and commercial experiences.


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Madeline Good: Hi Everyone, Welcome to PeopleMetrics Live! Today, We're talking about Clinical and Commercial customer experience in Pharma [Graphics image] and reviewing 10 universal moments of Truth touchpoints in the Pharma customer journey. [Graphics – PeopleMetrics Live! Pharma Customer Experience] [music…] Sean, Before We dive into everything, Can you just give us a quick recap of what Pharma customer experience or Pharma CX as we'll probably refer to it, throughout the rest of this session what that is exactly?

Sean McDade: Right, So you know, I'm writing a book, a new book called Pharma CX Secrets, and you know it's something that you know I've been thinking a lot about, and you know we went through a PeopleMetrics Live about this as well recently, but you know in a nutshell Pharma CX is three things and They're all kind of combined into this one process and the first step in what how would define Pharma CX is intentionally create experiences. So experiences for your customers and We Say customers, We're talking about [Graphics] patients, hcps, caregivers, They are, They happen whether you create them or not and part of Pharma CX is this intentionality about creating these experiences… So, It's thinking about you know what are those key interactions, you're having with your customers, and how do you want those interactions to go, how do you want your customers to feel, how do you want your customers to act after you have an interaction with them and It's always best to plan those and create them and orchestrate them as much as humanly possible, Which is what all the great consumer brands do, they don't take much to chance they map out journeys they make sure that every interaction is understood and they intentionally create experiences so that's the first step. Now after you think about and intentionally create them, it's about okay how are we doing with that in reality because you can create one, create an experience or the way you think it would go, but it doesn't always go the way you think it'll go. So that's why you have to measure the effectiveness of the experiences. So and that's just not measuring it once in a while, it's measuring it continuously. So you continuously reach out and measure those experiences that you've created at key touchpoints or moments of truth as Madeline has been talking about earlier in this PeopleMetrics Live and then after you measure there's one final key step and that's proactively managing CX or managing CX proactively, So that does not mean you know every once in a while get data back and take an action, it's take an action see if that worked tweak how you'd like those experiences to look which is kind of the final arrow, measure again and then see whether it works. So, you're constantly, intentionally creating, you're constantly Measuring and you're constantly taking action and this action can be a couple different levels. This action could be at an individual level, So you're following up with a patient that had a poor experience that might not onboard onto your new medication and you're making sure, that anything that you can do to make that right is done, and that's at an individual level or and this is also really important you can look at it at an aggregate level, and Say hey lots and lots of problems are happening around this touchpoint for all of our customers and that certainly gets into clinical too, perhaps the literature that we're providing isn't clear when they first start the trial that's something we can fix either in this trial or future trials that will make the experience better over time. We'll get into some of these touchpoints in a second, and you have a diagram up here that's really what Pharma CX is. [Graphics : The Pharma CX Feedback Loop]

Madeline: Yeah, the three steps in that Pharma CX feedback loop that you just reviewed of creating, measuring, managing…

Sean:  And you know Madeline, The second words are really important because you know… Experiences happen whether you're not you create them intentionally, You know those experience will go on and you can measure them every once in a while or you can measure them continuously or you can act once there's a problem or you can act proactively and the Intentionally, continuously, proactively words are super important to understanding kind of what Pharma CX is and what CX is in general across industries.

Madeline: Thanks for clarifying that, I was going to say You know, this is something that I think we've had conversations about before, where intentionally, continuously, proactively really speaks to that this isn't a once a one and done kind of thing. Right Pharma CX is a program or a process that you're putting into place at your organization so thank you for clarifying that and yeah those second words are super important.

Sean: Or anything you'd want to add to that before

Kirk Lohbauer: Yeah, I think one last thing I’d note, which we touched on in our journey map discussion last week is you know these experiences are happening that intentionality is very important and it's really is how can we intentionally create these from that patient point of view, because these are designated points of a process which of course, are going to have to get regulatory approval, legal approval but it's one step beyond that it's not just you know have we checked the box in you know this is something that I've, you know met the regulatory requirements of its what's the patient's experience like throughout these steps… and how can we better serve them, how can we build a customer experience for them not just patients but caregivers and hcps etc.

Sean: Absolutely, and you know it is a departure I mean people might be watching this and saying but yeah we do this we do market research, we do measure sometimes and but it's not just one or the other and we maybe do a journey map it's bringing them all together, Right, Like that's the key part of it and it's coming up with a plan… to have experiences that are great and why do we want great experiences for our customers, patients, caregivers, hcps because patients who have great experiences tend to behave in ways that produce good outcomes, medical outcomes meaning they'll onboard onto new medication or they'll go to that clinical trial and they'll stick through the trial, they'll adhere over time if we're on the commercial side again and they're then their outcomes, their medical outcomes tend to be much better than if the experience is a struggle for instance… too onboard or if the experience is a struggle to find the trial location site or it's a struggle to understand what this is that I’m going through or it's a struggle to understand what are the expectations on me as a patient as I go through this trial right they're just more likely to stick around and go through the trial which then has better outcomes not only for them hopefully but for innumerable patients in the future on the clinical side and on the commercial side you know adherence over time could make the difference between a high quality of life and not it even could be you know a life or death situation certain for some for certain cases.


Madeline: Hi, it's Madeline, Thanks for joining us for PeopleMetrics Live if this is your first time watching PeopleMetrics Live is a weekly live webinar session where experts from our team answer your questions about customer employee and patient experience measurement and management. And sometimes we show you how you can achieve your goals using tools within our experience management platform. We've been doing this for over two decades now and this is a great way for us to share all of our knowledge with you, you can sign up for upcoming sessions of PeopleMetrics Live at www.PeopleMetrics.com/events and bring a friend.

Sean: So, This responsibility for Pharma around really creating a great experience as much as they can and that's a good point that you made earlier Kirk, there is regulatory kind of constraints that maybe other industries that definitely other industries don't have, like hotels or financial services but that being said the principles of CX still apply, and but the stakes are so much higher, and I write about this in the book you know it's one thing improving the checkout up speed at a line at a hotel or making a call that somebody makes to a contact center to to understand their bill make that more smooth and more pleasant. It’s quite another thing helping say someone who has a rare disease onboard onto that new medication as quickly as they can and make sure they understand how to take that medication in here over time. I mean that's a very different kind of table stakes in terms of creating those experiences simply because the outcomes are much higher and they're much more important frankly.

Kirk: Yeah and I think that one, one last thing I would note on that is that it is very doable you described per se, on its there is this renaissance and Pharma companies of understanding we need to measure and improve the experience, So this is something that, folks are doing you're not going to be you know the very first person to do this it's very possible… and can exactly as you mentioned within a hotel of what is that check-in experience, what is that, you know check out experience or the experience uh of the, the room quality within as the customers need to imagine these kind of core moments of truth and that same problem pose, that same parallel exists within the Pharma world partially because of that regulatory environment, there are defined steps throughout the way.

Sean: Right and let's get to them, Madeline.

[Graphics : Clinical & Commercial “Moment of Truth”]

Madeline: All right here we go.

Sean: So, Kirk, you've worked on a lot of clinical trial work. why don't you just take us through some of these, these are five, they're not the only five but these are five that we've seen over and over again is pretty important.

Kirk: Exactly, These are some of these if you haven't started a feedback program before these would be great places for you to start. As they cover these moments of truth and this is really what it is as a patient or as a trial participant what are these moments that are core for me where I could use some check-in and some follow-up and management of this experience, now some of the these five which we're commonly seeing across our client base are, one post literature distribution patient onboarding on to a new trial that in-experienced, checking in part way through the trial close the trial and then following up, and I do want to start in on that that very first one, that post literature distribution because this is a good example of how it's different from your standard research, because of course Pharma companies put a lot of effort into what is the design of our literature, is it easy for patients to understand and caregivers to understand. that is its own style and house of research, which is different from when you've just received this literature. Do you recall receiving it? How easy was it for you to understand in a moment… This idea of active you know actively in the moment collecting feedback as folks are going through this experience, this is different from literature design at the start, and these really do work in sync which is how you know the Pharma CX is differentiated from these other styles of research.

Sean: And you know Kirk, sometimes we get a push back and say well we can't change protocol, you know it's already set, right, why bother… but there's a good answer to that right…

Kirk: Yeah, absolutely, and the idea being in the clinical trial space of course the protocol is set you're not going to change these things. You know in the moment for an ongoing clinical trial if you find something that you wish were different, but this is then used to improve the further clinical trials that you are going to design, if you understand we've identified this gap from kind of patient feedback, from real time patient feedback or participant feedback with our literature, that's something you can use in future design.

Sean: Exactly, and we've seen even circumstances where sometimes this literature can be if it's just some sort of clarity issue it can be changed even within the same protocol, so it's like it that if anything can be changed it could be you know clarity and communication certainly can be… but you're right, Like anything that is more substantial can be changed in future ones, I mean we see other moments of truth in clinical trials and next PeopleMetrics Live is all about clinical trials. So we don't want to give too much away, but like if you have a very hard to reach destination you know a site, you know patients are concerned about transportation there so maybe transportation to the clinical trial is a key touchpoint, Right we've seen that too. Right, Kirk so there's others that may even be beyond this.

Kirk: Yeah, Absolutely, and so these moments of truth are certainly going to have some variability across each clinical trial, across companies. However these are a great core five to start if you're imagining this type of program.

Sean: And let's also be clear what kind of patient feedback we're talking about in clinical trials. We're not talking about feedback on the medication, on their disease state, on their reactions to whatever the drug that their trialing is. This is about the experience in the trial, it's everything but that. Right, So, it's, Do I understand the way the trial will work, do I understand how to get there, Do I know who I can reach out to if I have any questions, you know, Do I understand the technology if there's a technology component is part of the trial is that easy to understand, is it easy to access there's all you know and transcelerate which we'll get into next time is a great place to start. They have a lot of, you know great questions, around these different like touchpoints, you know onboarding mid point and closing of trial, of the trial and post trial follow-up that we will get into but just so we kind of put some guardrails about, you know what kind of questions are we asking what kind of experiences are we talking about it's the experiences outside the reaction to the medication.

Kirk: Precisely, and that's a great point and I would say Pharma already does a very good job of that and you have teams of scientists and researchers who are there to collect that medical information. That's what you're doing well. The second thing that Pharmas still getting caught up with or caught up to is you're not just collecting this medical information, you're inviting people to participate in these trials. How is that experience of participation and that's where the questions are really honed on improving that.

Sean: And in clinical we'll get into this next time. The caregivers are also huge in clinical as they are in commercial at times depending on the patient and just getting their perspective on these things because they're often involved across these different phases of the trial is also key.


Madeline: Did you know that you can watch past sessions of PeopleMetrics Live, right here on our YouTube channel, All you have to do is click the link above be sure to check them out for answers to dozens of questions along with stories, tips, short tutorials and best practices from our team of experts you can click the bottom right corner of this video to subscribe to our channel so you never miss an update.

[MUSIC] [Graphics : Clinical & Commercial “Moment of Truth”]

Sean: All right Madeline, why don't we get to the next five?

Madeline: All right, Patient Support Services.

Sean: Right, So, this now we're on commercial, and this is an example of both clinical and commercial and there's other use cases for Pharma CX in commercial outside of patient support services. But patient support services is a great way to start thinking about how you can create an experience for a patient in a way that's just excellent and it's a great place to start because a lot almost every new product has patient support services attached to it, whether it's you know just a digital patient support services website portal or a full-blown case manager model with, you know a call center and you're able to reach out to them. and it's a critical onboarding experience that requires in my opinion a great yet, a lot of effort and it's totally worth the money to invest in creating great experience in the onboarding area as well as shortly after onboarding after they've started to kind of adhere to the drug… right Kirk so there's a bunch of different ones that we could talk about but these are five that we see often.

Kirk: Oh yeah, Absolutely, and I think you're right, that We emphasize patient support services just because it is such a great starting point of it. It takes a lot of investment to do this if either you have a third party doing it or you have to build your own team or build your own. You know the suite of services to reach out to patients and caregivers and hcps and you know measuring the success of those services, you know it can be hard to delineate, you know what exactly did these support teams do versus kind of what the rest of the brand or the commercial teams are doing. But when you collect that feedback of here's how satisfied they are with their teams they interact with, here's how satisfied they are with the level of communication that they receive and the ease of going through these processes of a welcome call of you know that first treatment of your events and your field liaisons, that is the very tangible way of saying you know we collect this feedback. We know how valuable this is or what we need to change.

Sean: Right, So if a lot of these modes of truth depend on your product, Right, So if you have a field liaison that's visiting the patient's home then that's probably a moment of truth for you. Right, anytime you have that kind of personal interaction without a doubt now you might not have a drug, that has that, but you everybody gets onboarded right and that should always be you know that welcome call first infusion could be thought of as an onboarding moment of truth, that's always key. And then touching base after they onboard you know we have programs that have six month check-ins, 12-month check-ins you could even do an 18-month check-in depending on what it is and it's just like these periodic check-ins to make sure that the patient you know isn't having any issues, can contact you know your support services when they do have questions don't have any problems say traveling with the medication, don't have any problems kind of if it's an injectable, injecting it or finding a center to get to get helped with regard to administering it like there's all these different pieces of the experience. Again outside of their effectiveness of the medication for their disease state, that's again not we're not talking about, that we're talking about everything else around that but that can make or break product launches. I mean we're doing a PeopleMetrics Live, right, Madeline in a few weeks on this on product launches, but I mean we've seen this over and over again you know the experience the patient and the hcp has around the new medication both prescribing it and onboarding to it, can make or break your product launch it's simply not good enough to have great products anymore in Pharma. Great products are the price of admission products that are efficacious and are able to, you know work in a very safe manner and all of those things are extremely important, but in order to really create a blockbuster these days and something that's very effective, The experience part of it is absolutely as important if not more so in some ways. I know that may sound crazy to people in this, in the industry like that's what we why would we have to worry about that. It's just consumers these days, who are expecting good experiences because so many other industries have focused on it. Like, the experience that you have now to order or take out is like, so much better than it used to be. The experience you have to just find your favorite song is so much better than it used to be, the experience you have to buy a toothbrush right, you go into Amazon, you can do this in a second is so much better than it used to be. It's just the bar has been raised for experiences and again I'll come back to my kind of what I said in the beginning, the outcome of these experiences are much more important than whether you get that toothbrush in two days or not. Yet, These companies are spending like, are maniacal about looking at every interaction these e-commerce customers have with their website to make sure it's as easy and great as possible…

Kirk: Yeah, And that's a great point and I think another kind of thing would call out anytime you have one of those interactions, the feedback that you that is collected is immediate off after you make that purchase it's how was that purchase or after you finish, an Uber ride or make your purchase for food, it's you know how many stars was that how good was that interaction. With Pharma CX, the fact that it's being getting measured continuously and then managed in real time is a key part of it back, of course to what I was saying about literature Pharma companies are already getting patient feedback from literature design but are you getting feedback in real time on how that's being received and managing that in real time that's where it becomes really elevating, that's where Pharma CX becomes really important, especially on that commercial side of you just completed, that welcome call how was it, how can we follow up if you had a negative experience to manage that.

Sean: Right, And the other thing about Pharma CX is, that this information is not constrained or siloed into a specific department, right so when we keep talking about you know collecting this information continuously, maybe we should make sure we're 100 clear and what we mean by that. We're collecting it and distributing it to the entire organization as needed, like so everyone in the company might be able to get access to it or certainly, in the patient support services example, case managers would get access to their cases in real time, The head of patient support services would receive all this information, the person running the brand would receive this information, Right, The market research and insights person certainly would be able to see this information and so it gets into more people's hands including the people responsible for delivering the experience. And I think that's also a really important point: it's not filtering down to that person through a Powerpoint Presentation necessarily. Although that might those things might still occur at times and they should but in the real-time nature of this these programs is you know, their understanding when a customer that they interacted with yesterday, when I say customer again, I mean a patient, hcps, caregiver, they know if that customer did not have a great experience and it trickles right to them via software and technology. Which is another kind of key part of CX in general.


Madeline: Our founder and CEO Sean, is writing a new book all about creating, measuring and managing customer experiences in the Pharmaceutical industry called “Pharma CX secrets”. In this book Sean presents 20 easy to implement but powerful strategies that you can use to turn your Pharma Company into a truly patient-centric organization, in both commercial and clinical settings. Pharma CX secrets will be available on Amazon soon… go to PeopleMetrics.com/Pharma-CX-secrets to sign up to be notified and that's a perfect segue Sean because we have a little another diagram to show exactly how that process would work, So maybe we can go through and just go around this circle to kind of give a more tangible, explanation of how this might go around the start the circle for a survey, that gets completed. [Graphics : Clinical & Commercial Pharma CX]

Sean: It's a great that's a great segue Madeline right, So If when a customer, patient, hcps, caregiver has an experience, moment of truth ideally with a clinical or commercial type therapy, Then they are introduced to a brief survey, and we say brief we're not talking about an hour we're not talking about 30 minutes or 15 minutes we're talking about a couple of minutes and the purpose of the survey, is only to understand what their experience was with that moment of truth. That’s why it can be short, that's why it can be targeted and that's why it can be done without incentives in honoraria for the most part. Kirk here are some methods right we use all these different methods to collect the feedback.

Kirk: Absolutely, and The main thing to keep in mind is you want to meet your customers where they are, So commonly for patient support services that's going to be via email or text or sending them to an IVR survey, after call is completed with clinical trials they're commonly at a site and you can have an iPad or some sort of in-person survey that's completed, there and then of course with https there are kind of various ways you can reach out to them kind of all of the above here, So but the core thing is meet customers where they are and there's a lot of best practices on how to do that here.

Sean: Yes, Say they're invited they provide the feedback they submit the survey through whatever vehicle that they were provided it to and then real-time feedback is provided to specific people within the Pharma organization, Who have access and this can be as many as needed and as many as can be in many cases… and so that's available in real time… the system, that we employ also can alert you if a specific individual patient, usually with inpatient support services had a poor experience, So they can be followed up on. There is PII safeguards around that, So their information isn't being distributed to anyone who doesn't need to know, But there is a way then to match a unique id that we'd provide with their patient information and they would be able to be followed up on to make sure that they don't have any issues with regarding the services and support they're receiving.

Madeline: All right.

Sean: And then the final step is, There are trends and insights that can be gathered from many different interactions, feedback that you can use to change the entire program. Everything with any of those touchpoints that we mentioned, you'll understand whether you've intentionally created them in the right way. Nobody's ever perfect that's why you have to start, with the best possible experience you think can be given then you listen to your customers, you look at what they say and then you adjust and after you adjust you continue to listen, and see if your adjustment worked or not and that's Pharma CX and that's really patient centricity in a nutshell. How do you become patient-centric? You start a program like this, as many programs like this as you possibly can with any way that you interact with your customers.

Kirk: Yeah, and those moments of truth, that we touched on, Those are great places to kind of begin and think of where are those places where we're having the biggest impact on our customers. Those are often the clinical and commercial points and at once you have identified those stages, this is exactly the kind of screen identifies goes through, What you should be doing to make sure you are providing that best experience possible.

Sean: Exactly.

Madeline: This was great guys, Thank you for taking us through this and I like that we came back to you know this final arrow of closing the loop is when you're coming back to that intentional creation of experiences and I love what you said Sean, that it's an ongoing process you're never going to get it right, the first time all you can do is be intentional with creating that experience and keep iterating on it as you go around and round the loop. So we've just got a couple minutes left here and I had a couple of questions that I wanted to throw at you guys I think we touched on both of these things in the session already, but if we can do a quick recap on them we've got two questions, One is on the clinical and commercial side where would be a good touchpoint to start and then the second question was, on the commercial side are we only talking about patient support teams or is there more opportunities for Pharma CX, in other areas of Pharma companies… so just a quick over...

Sean: Kirk, Why don't you take the first one, I'll take the second

Kirk: Sure, I think on the commercial side for a touchpoint definitely, that welcome call or first you know first treatment is, Where our clients start because that's where so many important things have just concluded and it's coming to fruition. That's where you want to collect that feedback from the patient from the clinical trial side. It's going to be likely, I think there's a few different places. It's generally where do you have most of that involvement from the patient so probably it's going to be either the conclusion of the trial or midway through the trial. Somewhere where you can get a good bit of feedback on your entire process if you're going to start somewhere, that would be a great place to start.

Sean: All right, In terms of the second question on - is it only patient support services, it isn't the support service is a great place to start. that's generally focused on the patient, although there is hcps, that we will reach out to as part of the process because they also are highly involved, in communicating the patient support services is available to too patients and sometimes calls you know accesses that support themselves, but if you think about hcps and physicians in general, you know Pharma can touch them in many different ways outside of this. So there's a journey that hcps go on with Pharma, from you know sales reps that might interact with the physician too, you know educational opportunities that Pharma might offer to you know technology and portals or whatever else that you have to educate them about the disease state and products, you know, to me it makes a lot of sense to think about that as you know what is that hcps overall experience, make sure that you're mapping out those interactions and having some continuous feedback not just you know a study every once in a while via you know a market research angle which those are also good, but to continuously measure that that physician experience, hcps experience to make sure that, it's as good as it can be and that can be, you know depending on how your company is organized it's harder to do that at a brand level that probably is a product level branding type, type piece and therapeutic area. But you know, it's just a way to think about it and it's another kind of example of how I think. You know, you can use the Pharma CX principles for another audience.

Madeline: Awesome, great answers guys. Well, thank you both! It looks like we are at time here, So this was a great discussion about clinical and commercial customer experience in Pharma and I hope that this has been a valuable conversation for everyone we've got on the line today. I will make sure that when this goes up on our YouTube channel, We include a link to all of the diagrams that we shared today, [MUSIC] and on behalf of everyone here at PeopleMetrics, Thank You for joining us for PeopleMetrics Live. If you like this video make sure to subscribe right here, So you never miss an update and have you checked out other sessions of PeopleMetrics Live, Yet you can click right here to watch them all. I'll see you there.

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Posted on 05-06-2021