Hannover, May 21 2024

 

In our blog series, we looked at the customer journey and explored the question of what customer engagement is. In this context, we first analyzed different types of contact and data sources.

In the next step, we present the following consideration:   If all channels are equal, which ones should we choose as a life sciences company to engage and retain customers?

While this may seem like a logical and consistent approach, it requires careful consideration, as opinions are already divided on this question!

  • Are we answering the question from the perspective of an established life sciences company that has been in the market for some time, or from the perspective of a start-up company?
  • Are all channels equal, or are there more or less important ones, or are the contacts made in each case of equal or different value and should therefore be weighted differently?
  • Who is the question addressed to? A life sciences company’s sales organization, marketing, medical teams or customer support? Shouldn’t customers be allowed to choose how and through which channels they want to be contacted?
  • Should you also consider who is contacting them? Do you use a push or pull approach, or do you ensure that channels can be used in a balanced way?
  • Finally, you need to decide who the “customer” is – the HCPs, i.e. doctors, pharmacists, nurses, etc., or the patients?

But that’s not the end of the story. You also need to consider your sales strategy.

If you are taking an omnichannel approach, the focus should be on the customer, as described in our three-part article “Omnichannel management: the shift from product centricity to customer centricity”.

Accordingly, the needs and desires of HCPs should be taken into account when choosing channels, but that’s not the end of the story. You also need to consider your distribution strategy.

What can a channel mix look like for a start-up company?

Choosing the right channels is an important step in creating a balanced setup. This means that both traditional and new channels should be considered. Channels that are used to distribute information should be considered as well as those where customers can search for information themselves.

An appropriate channel mix for a start-up might include the following channels:

Overview channels
  • Sales team visits

  • Telephone

  • Corporate Email/Marketing Automation Email

  • Social media activities via LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram

  • Websites

 

Once the basics are in place and the channels are consistently fed with content and consistent messages, the list of channels can be expanded to include, for example:

Expanded list of channels
  • Rep Triggered Email

  • Events (onsite and remote)

  • Customer support via email, website or telephone

  • Video calls or conferences

  • Compliant chat with field service, MSL etc.

  • Chat bots for company websites

  • Apps (for HCPs with therapy recommendations and training material, e.g. when using applicators)

Entwicklung der Kanäle

 

This list of channels is not exhaustive and should not be set in stone. A regular review of each channel in terms of contact frequency, customer response and acceptance, customer accessibility and customer feedback must be used to optimize both customer perception and customer knowledge.

What is the channel mix for an established life sciences company?

Companies that have been in the market for some time have evolved their channels over the years.

The focus is on maintaining or expanding proven channels, closing outdated channels, and adding new channels where appropriate. Unless corrective action is taken, there is a risk that a confusing jungle of channels will emerge that is difficult or impossible to coordinate.

The following animation illustrates the problem.

Entwicklung der Kanäle

 

In such a scenario, there is a real risk of each channel delivering a different message. The division of responsibilities between different areas also encourages a silo mentality that needs to be overcome.

It is therefore not so much a question of which channels are used to contact customers, but rather which channels are the RIGHT ones. Continuous evaluation of channels in terms of performance, reach and accessibility is essential for life sciences companies to meet their own interests and, more importantly, the needs of their customers.

In the next article in this series, we will look at which channels are best suited for customer contact.

 

About me
Hello, my name is Marcos Garcia Villas. As a customer engagement expert I have gained diverse experience in the field of customer relationship management within the life sciences industry over the past 16 years. I provide our customers with in-depth process expertise to advise on customer engagement and next-best-action for their respective target audiences. I look forward to meeting with you in person to provide insight on how you can achieve successful engagement in the future.

You want more insights?
Check out our other blog articles about customer engagement!