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Contact centers have long been the first line of communication with patients and health care providers. As such, they provide invaluable data that can be utilized to enhance engagement and improve customer loyalty.

I was pleased to attend CBI’s Bio/Pharma Contact Centers conference last week in Philadelphia. As in year’s past, the Contact Centers event was a place for bio/pharma execs to convene and discuss best practices for managing contact center responsibilities in an evolving regulatory landscape.

The theme of this year’s conference was using omni-channel strategies to drive patient engagement. Topics ran the gamut from compliance and data security, to monitoring for adverse events, PhaCT-MI, and the use of data analytics in the contact center.

On day 1, John MacDaniel and I gave a presentation on digital strategies for a proactive omni-channel contact center. Our session focused on how social media and digital health, and the data collected from their usage, can help turn a contact center from re-active to pro-active.

Contact center programs that deal with patient adherence, wellness, clinical trials, and disease management can leverage the data they collect to build targeted, adaptive strategies that deliver optimized results.  Traditional patient engagement programs are prescriptive and rigid – with one structure and a pre-defined cadence – and often only analyzed after the program is over.  We can now move from that situation to one that is more adaptive and personalized – with unique programs, and data-driven interactions in the patient’s channel of choice, that are being analyzed in real-time to allow for changes.

Emerging digital strategies – like monitoring / engaging in social media and remote patient monitoring using wearable devices – are what will help get us from point A to point B.

But they are only beginning to gain traction.

Digital Channels

During the presentation, we conducted a live poll of the attendees and found that only 21% were using both social media and digital health strategies in their contact center. 25% were using social media only, and 50% were using neither social media nor digital health.

Perhaps pharma is still struggling to see the benefits of digital in the contact center?

To better understand that question, we again polled the audience using the live polling feature and found that more than half of attendees named “Improving Customer Loyalty” as their primary contact center objective. Digital and Social Media strategies can certainly help reach this goal.

Social communities (closed or open) hold a wealth of knowledge that better help us understand the patient and their challenges. Mining this data can transform your contact center into a Center of Intelligence. Additionally, engaging with patients and healthcare professionals in their channel of choice – as digital strategies enable you to do – leads to greater customer and patient satisfaction, this in turn leads to customer loyalty.

Utilizing the data already being collected in the contact center, and enhancing it with even more data from social media and digital health strategies is pharma’s next step in driving patient engagement.

I would love to hear from you – what digital channels are you using in your contact center today? And what successes have you found in using them?

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