Emerging Technologies Are Changing How Pharma Interacts With Customers

November 2021
customer experience in pharma

The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the shift to digital. Consumers have a world of convenience at their fingertips, from mobile payments to grocery delivery. As digital consumer products grow more intuitive, convenient, and ubiquitous, pharmaceutical companies are being forced to rethink traditional ways of engaging customers. After all, healthcare providers (HCPs) are consumers too, and they are looking for the same seamlessness and convenience that they find in other products. 

Amy Turnquist, Principal in North Highland’s Life Sciences Practice, moderated a panel discussion on “Emerging Technologies Enhancing the Pharma Customer Experience” at the Pharma CX Tech Summit 2021 on October 6. Panelists included Beerju Patel, Non-Personal Promotion Lead, Media Strategy, AstraZeneca; Corinne Yaouanq-Lyngberg, Director, Omnichannel Strategic Enablement, Novo Nordisk; and Dany De Grave, Sr. Director, Digital Transformation, Sanofi. 

New technologies have brought about an information revolution, and AstraZeneca has piloted social talking service ililli (eye-lily) to spark discussion among HCPs at healthcare conferences. The platform enables micro-podcasting, where users can share 15-second audio clips to summarize key ideas, bringing together pharmaceutical manufacturers, key opinion leaders, and conference participants. 

Pharma companies are also using emerging technologies to improve the patient experience and patient outcomes. Novo Nordisk is leveraging natural language processing to direct patient questions and requests to the correct patient services representatives. This has significantly improved response speed. At the same time, machine learning has enabled Novo Nordisk to generate more effective and personalized email advertisements for HCPs. 

Sanofi is even exploring how artificial intelligence can find blind spots in the data used to engage customers. AI can test whether previously unexplored factors, like the day’s weather, might impact the success of promotional strategies. By making Sanofi aware of previously unconsidered data points, AI can give the most holistic picture yet of why customer engagement efforts succeed or fail. 

Leadership alignment is the essential ingredient for a successful internal rollout of digital technologies. If these new technologies are not built into enterprise strategy and organizational culture, adoption can become a major limiting factor. But, getting internal users to adopt new technologies is only half the battle—if tech strategy is decided in a vacuum, customer satisfaction will be low. Effective customer-centered digital strategies are built around customer research that determines how, when, and with what information customers want to be engaged. 

The pharmaceutical industry’s digital revolution is well underway, with companies adapting the use of newly mature technologies originally developed for other applications. Going forward, however, pharma companies must invest their resources and efforts in creating tailored digital solutions that solve pharma’s unique needs for enhanced security, privacy, and customer centricity. 

About the Author
Christopher Stein

Chris is a Management Consultant at North Highland. You can learn more about Chris on

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This report is the summary of collaboration between DHC Group and Medallia on the latest insights, opinions, and data throughout the life sciences industry, its leading experts, and its customers. Read More >>


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