Leading Pharma Contact Centers Put Patients First During COVID-19

In any time of crisis, contact centers become the centerpiece of communication with patients. This has been amplified by COVID-19, especially as interactions that may have taken place in person are now directed to contact centers. In fact, according to Accenture, “58% more customers prefer to solve urgent issues by calling for support rather than use other channels.”

Pharma contact center rep on the phone

In the healthcare and life sciences industry, contact center leaders have felt the strain that comes with higher call volumes, including overwhelmed agents, data security concerns, and challenges of supporting agents who are now taking most interactions from home.

The industry’s best contact center leaders have confronted these obstacles head-on. Here are some ways contact center leaders have made positive changes to keep the patient experience at the forefront during COVID-19.

Stay focused on empathy.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “Many companies are seeking to support their [contact center agents] by offering empathy training.”

As centers turn to more automated ways of handling increased call volume, patients are turning to centers that offer more human interaction. Bot technology simply doesn’t have the same emotional authority as a human-to-human interaction does. Empathy between humans can build positive, long-lasting relationships. Advanced technology certainly has its place, but when humans are the best option, the best centers are adding a refresher course on empathy.

Draw insights from interactions.

According to Accenture, one of the top three critical areas contact center executives need to address is how to improve contact center data and analytics. Contact center leaders have a prime opportunity to collect, organize, and analyze data from patient calls to create a more positive patient experience.

Pete Guillot, president of Centerfirst, says, “Interactions, like pharma sales and nurse visits, that previously were not able to be recorded and monitored will now be monitored for quality and improvement.” Because more interactions are being handled by the contact center, there’s significant untapped potential within these conversations, especially since insights can be shared with teams outside of the contact center.

Collaborate with marketing and other teams.

Improving the patient experience doesn’t always involve direct conversations with patients in contact centers. It’s also important to consider how contact center stakeholders collaborate with marketing and share insights.

“Marketers must be nimble and strategic, while still continuing to prioritize what they have always prioritized — targeted and effective communication with HCPs and patients,” said Sarah Caldwell, general manager at Veeva Crossix, in an article in PharmaVOICE. By understanding the most frequently asked questions or common issues that patients share with contact centers, marketers can create relevant content that addresses those inquiries.

Learn more about how you can create a patient-centric experience.