My role at Telerx provides me the wonderful opportunity to spend time with our clients discussing best practices and service innovations. Our clients are hungry to learn what others are doing. Sure, they would like to know what competitors are up to, but the most interesting conversations lately have been around understanding what leaders in other industries are doing.
Telerx has clients in many industries including pharmaceutical, food, beverage, medical device, durable goods, bio tech, publishing, clinical services, and more. And my interactions with clients across these industries show there are many opportunities to learn from each other.
Multi-channel remains the hot topic when discussing how to better interact with consumers, patients, healthcare providers (HCPs), retailers, enterprise personal, distributors… But the adoption and maturity of leveraging each channel varies widely across industries.
Consumer Industries are Leading the Social Care Revolution
Consumer products companies quickly realized that the rapid growth of social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook offered them a challenge and an opportunity. Consumers were discussing their products on social media and beginning to expect customer service via this emerging channel. Many consumer products companies jumped head first into supporting social media as a channel and are now driving best practices, including:
- Close Partnership between Branding and Social Media Engagement Team: Leaders have moved past social media as simply being another promotional channel to engaging directly with consumers by responding to posts. Responses to posts have to have a “consistent brand voice.” A best practice I see is very close alignment between brand teams (internal and agency) and social media engagement teams (internal or partners like Telerx).
- Ability to Convert from Public Forum to 1 to 1 Conversation within Channel: There are some topics such as potential adverse events that need to be transitioned from a public social media forum to a private conversation. Asking someone to call an 800 number is the normal approach for many, but consumers want to be supported within the channel in which they started their dialogue. Leaders in this space have begun using direct messaging or click to chat approaches to continue with a 1 to 1 conversation online and/or on a mobile device.
Most companies in the life sciences industry have been conservative in their adoption of social media as a channel. They should consider leveraging these best practices, and others gleaned by the consumer products industry, to engage with patients and HCPs via social media while maintaining compliance and banding standards.
Life Sciences Love Live Video
Life Sciences companies have long been utilizing video conferencing to foster communications between HCPs regarding treatment approaches and efficacy. Changes in the industry, including reductions in sales teams and barriers to scheduling office visits with HCPs, have led to further use of live video. Video detailing techniques are being used to reach HCPs off hours and in remote locations. Smaller sales forces are scaling using a combination of in-person and virtual meetings with HCP offices. And online medical device training/certification curriculum is being supplemented with live video sessions.
The application of live video technology in consumer industries has been limited. Amazon, in the retail space, launched Mayday on its Kindle Fire, but very few brands or retailers leverage live video to improve interactions with consumers. Live video can enhance the buying experience during an eCommerce transaction. It can also enhance interactions with retailers and distributors during product training or issues resolution. Live video offers many opportunities to significantly improve interactions in the consumer industries.
Walking the Self-Service Line
Technical service providers continue to improve the self-service offerings they provide users. A more tech savvy workforce is looking for options to get support quickly, 24×7. Millennials, who are coveted by many consumer companies, and are an emerging market segment for many life science companies, want the same thing. Most millennials would prefer to get a quick answer without having to interact with anyone directly.
Self-service is more than just a more content-rich FAQ database or an online product locator. A robust social community that is moderated enables communal sharing and consumption of content. Dynamic IVR speech menus can enable easy access to information. And innovative use of short, multi-media videos allows users to quickly navigate to relevant information.
As consumer industries look to improve consumer intimacy and life sciences companies are looking to get closer to patients, it might sound counter intuitive to focus on self-service initiatives. But we need to always consider the audience and in this case, it’s what millennials want.
Are you learning from other industries???