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Healthcare & Life Sciences CX Insights

We recently partnered with Sitecore and VansonBourne to survey hundreds of customer experience decision makers for our first-annual Solving for CX report. Within that survey data are key insights for specific industry verticals that shed light on how organizations view CX as a catalyst for growth, and what challenges they need to overcome to optimize every step of the customer journey.

For the Healthcare & Life Sciences industries, four key themes emerged in our data analysis that illuminate how companies can evolve and win with CX.

IMPROVED CX IS MISSION CRITICAL

Almost 90% of respondents from the Healthcare & Life Sciences industries report that the customer experience is very or crucially important to their organization's strategic priorities, and that they risk falling behind their competitors if they don't improve their CX offering. An overwhelming majority of marketing and technology leaders in this sector report that an optimized, personalized customer experience drives tangible bottom-line business benefits, and improves consumer satisfaction and retention.

And yet, 90% also report that they believe their organization often fails to deliver the personalization their customers crave.

This dichotomy reflects a stunning gap between opportunity and reality, and articulates a real pain-point for Healthcare & Life Sciences organizations. With so much business upside in getting it right, and so little confidence that they are currently delivering the experience their customers are looking for - prioritizing CX from a strategic, operational and technical perspective likely represents a significant opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in the market.

OWNERSHIP OF THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

As the understanding of CX has evolved to truly encapsulate the complex end-to-end customer journey, and as technology advancements have increasingly enabled experience and data continuity across devices, platforms and channels, organizations are looking inwards to evaluate where ownership of the customer experience sits within their own four walls.

Survey respondents from the Healthcare & Life Sciences industries unilaterally believe that ownership of every touch-point of the customer experience should roll up under the Chief Marketing Officer. This is on-trend with the evolution of the CMO's role (increasingly as CXO), which has taken on increasing responsibility for revenue generation, innovation, and ownership of the customer journey.

However, almost half of respondents are currently not certain that CX ownership sits within the right department in their organization. Survey data backs up this disconnect, showing ownership of the customer experience sitting with more than 10 members of the c-suite across surveyed companies. Further, Healthcare & Life Sciences respondents report that operationalizing CX is the single biggest customer experience challenge for their organization. Other frequently cited challenges include outdated technology, the lack of a central CX strategy, the absence of a true CX champion within the company, and a siloed approach to managing the customer journey.

Ensuring continuity of the customer experience across teams and departments that align with distinct stages of the sales funnel is a must, but companies need to consolidate ownership of CX under one department that is tasked with overall strategy, breaking down and driving operational efficiency, and optimizing every interaction with the customer.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS A SMART MOVE

100% of Healthcare & Life Sciences respondents believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and/or machine learning would enable their organization to provide a better customer experience, but only 18% report that this is currently the case. Or, said another way, 82% believe AI and machine learning probably or definitely will enable better CX in the future, but aren't leveraging these technologies now to automate, personalize and optimize the customer experience. Given the near unanimous perspective that CX is a gatekeeper for business growth, this points to an obvious near-term opportunity for Healthcare & Life Sciences organizations to claim first-mover status, and create distance from their competitors.

82% believe AI and machine learning will enable better CX in the future but are not currently using it.

In the context of the digital customer experience, AI and machine learning have many value propositions - all of which ratchet up to the idea of making CX a true one-to-one experience for the end user. Advanced technologies enable personalization at scale, and allow organizations to get smarter about, and more relevant to their customers with every interaction. It both ingests data and ensures continuity across every device - moving companies from all-customers-one-screen, to one-customer-all-screens. This isn't just a B2C mind state. 94% of respondents agree that their B2B customers crave the same level of personalization.

CUSTOMER DATA CHALLENGES

Given the emphasis on personalization, AI, and machine learning, it should not come as a surprise that customer data management plays a central role in the survey's findings. Healthcare & Life Sciences respondents rank big data analytics as the most important thing they can improve on with regard to enhancing the customer experience.

In fact, the top four technologies described as most critical for improving CX were all customer data-centric - big data, AI, IoT (internet of things), and machine learning.

Broadly, these marketing and technology leaders also report significant challenges with gathering customer data (36%), leveraging real-time data for personalization (42%), and better analysis of customer data (42%) to drive smarter and faster decision making.

Perhaps most tellingly, 50% of respondents report lack of real-time customer insights as an organizational challenge in terms of optimizing the customer experience.

74% of respondents believe big data analytics is the top B2B commerce trend for 2018

Generally, capturing customer data is much less of a challenge than what comes next - turning that data into an experience that creates value for both the brand and the customer. Of course, for some companies within the Healthcare & Life Sciences industries, there is an added layer of regulatory complexity with patient data - and this has important conditions for how information is captured, stored, and leveraged for personalization.

Investing in marketing technologies with established CMS and CRM ecosystems that understand how to work with ERP systems and medical portals, and that feature built-in AI and machine learning functionality, will enable organizations to both maximize the business benefits AND manage protected health information when applicable.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Prioritizing CX from a strategic, operational, and technical perspective likely represents a significant opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Organizations need to consolidate ownership of CX under one department that is tasked with overall strategy, breaking down, driving operational efficiency, and optimizing every interaction with the customer.
  • Invest in AI and machine learning technologies now to claim first-mover status and create distance from competitors.
  • CMS and CRM technologies enable better customer data management, and work with ERP systems and medical portals to protect health information.