Introduction to Centerfirst's CX Framework
Customer Experience Framework – Initial Data
Across all industries, customer expectations have changed significantly over recent years. They want personalized experiences and more on-demand resources that provide rapid responses to their needs. This is certainly the case in pharma. With more on-demand resources, one might suspect that less customers and patients will be calling into the contact center making improvement efforts less important compared to other initiatives. We have found that yes, for some programs, call volume may decrease with the adoption of on-demand resources, innovative IVRs, and chat-bots, but we have also found that those individuals who do end up reaching out to the contact center tend to have the most complex needs and require a tactful approach to deliver the best customer experience possible.
With a continued focus in pharma on creating ideal experiences for customers and patients, our team has begun working on developing the Centerfirst CX Framework. This framework will be built from our team’s expertise through the evaluation of hundreds-of-thousands of contact center interactions. We are hopeful this framework will serve to help both our current clients, but also provide some best practice solutions for our colleagues in the industry as well. We will have more exciting updates over the coming months as we introduce the CX framework.
To kick start the project, we asked everyone at Centerfirst if they’d like to answer customer experience questions to crowdsource some starting points for us. Twenty-eight Centerfirst team members responded with amazing and detailed answers. We won’t plan to share them all here, but we did want to share some of the most common and/or detailed answers, including quotes from multiple employees, in the hope that you may find some of the feedback helpful for your center.
Q1: “What are the top 2 needs or expectations patients and/or caregivers have of their contact center interactions?”
The most popular responses to this question were around the agent creating a safe space where the patient feels heard, respected, and has their needs met. There is a desire for the agent to be well informed and understanding of the various processes involved. Patients and caregivers often struggle with talking to agents that are lacking compassion and empathy for their concerns, which then leads to an overall negative conversation.
Hunter Heniser, Centerfirst’s Director of Sales & Marketing, shared this response:
“The biggest thing that comes to mind is that patients and customers want information readily available for them. Only the most challenging topics make to human interactions anymore. Often times once they get to the contact center rep, they may be frustrated since they haven't found the information themselves via other channels. So, for these situations patients and caregivers will most likely want to be: 1) Heard and provided responses in a respectful and empathetic way [and] 2) Trusted that their problems are being addressed by a confident and capable representative. Call ownership and rapport building are essential.”
As Hunter explains, most people don’t just call into a contact center for any little question. Those who take this step most likely are using it as a last resort, as they can’t find this specific information anywhere else. This makes it is even more crucial that the agent can provide a clear understanding of the solution to their problem, while showing them kindness and a willingness to assist.
Q2: “What are the top 2 needs or expectations other customers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc… ) have of their contact center interactions?”
While the responses to this question were similar to those of the first (ex. the desire for professionalism, knowledge, needs addressed, etc.), these responses were a little more focused on assistance, confidence, and support with forms and approvals, along with making sure the agent understands dosing, insurance, ordering, financials, and more.
Trisha Miller, a Registered Nurse and Program Manager here at Centerfirst, had a great response to this question based on her personal experience:
“When speaking with other customer types (HCPs, doctors, pharmacists, etc) I feel their needs are: 1. Helping patients navigate access – obtaining prior authorizations, specialty pharmacies, and prescriptions, guidance and resources for financial support available to patients, etc. [and] 2. Access to more detailed clinical and prescribing information specifically for HCPs – clinical trials, detailed clinical questions (concomitant medications, treatment recommendations, understanding side effects and dosing, etc.)”
When HCPs call into a contact center, they could be expecting a variety of information. What is most important is that this information is accurate, easy to understand, provided in a timely manner, and ultimately resolves the HCP’s issue.
Q3: "In your opinion, what are the top 3-5 parameters that make up an ideal customer experience for the programs you are involved with?"
There were many answers to this question, but at the top of this list were empathy, competence, acknowledgement, efficiency, and resolution/next steps.
Jessica Courtright, Centerfirst’s Operations Supervisor, shared this response with us:
“The top five parameters that make an ideal customer experience to me are Patient-Centric Engagement, Listening and responding with Empathy, Resolution at the first call, and Acknowledgment and Follow-through (action by doing what they say they are going to do).”
Some of the other responses that weren’t as common but are also important are accuracy, direct and tailored responses/personalization, quick and timely responses, and going above and beyond to make sure the customer is understanding and feels heard.
Q4: "What are the biggest frustrations you commonly hear from the patient/customer on the programs you are involved with?"
This question provided the most specific/in-depth answers from our team. Patients are often frustrated with a lack of knowledge from agents, lack of understanding regarding why agents need so much information from them, failure to obtain a resolution which might lead to delays/transfers/multiple calls, medication expenses and insurance issues, and a lack of empathy from agents.
Rosie Howard, a Registered Nurse and Centerfirst’s Clinical Operations Supervisor, chimes in with her opinion:
“Often, the agents ramble through their need to report an adverse event. It is very scripted yet required verbiage. Patients do not understand why they are collecting so much information or what it will be used for/its importance of it. Providing the ‘why’ upfront can make the customer feel valued and like their safety and experience with the medication is a priority.”
A lot of customers don’t feel comfortable sharing so much information about themselves while on a call, and they feel even less willing when they don’t understand why the information they’re sharing is significant. Making sure that patients are aware of why the agent is collecting information and the significance of it allows for customers to be more willing to talk openly.
You most likely noticed a pattern here, as many of the responses to each question had similarities. Every customer that engages with a contact center wants to be treated with respect, understood, and wants the call to be resolved in a timely manner. Patients and agents alike have the same goal in mind – to resolve the call as quickly and efficiently as possible. Stay tuned to hear more about our CX Framework and how we plan to use it across Centerfirst. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us.