The pandemic has unwittingly ushered entire industries into uncharted territory. All of a sudden, drastic changes in consumer behavior have become prevalent – driving businesses to rethink customer engagement and overall brand experience. Now, more than ever, focus on the customer experience becomes integral and impactful.
Businesses are now feeling the impact of technology integration in their operations or the lack thereof. Covid-19 brought about a big shift on how customers interact with brands. It has forced customer interactions to shift from personal to digital at the drop of a hat. Digital interaction has to be navigated carefully to continue providing a great experience as this plays a big role in driving customer loyalty .
The Life Science industry is not immune to sweeping changes in customer expectations. Customer demand has seen considerable uptake especially from brands that provide direct relevant health services. While this may prove to be challenging at the onset, it also serves a great opportunity to transform long-standing procedures into game changing experiences.
In order to grow beyond what is currently being done in terms of customer experience, businesses can simply take a look at what successful brands from other industries are doing and adapt to improve current processes.
Let’s have a look at some of the remarkable things other industries are doing and what we can take from them:
Hospitality Industry: AI- & ML-Powered Chatbots
With the limitation to face-to-face interactions and reduced number in manpower, the hospitality industry which traditionally relies on personal interaction has turned to interactive AI-powered Chatbots. Hotels are now utilising this smart messaging tool to book reservations that are smart enough to recommend relevant activities. One good example of this is Bebot, Japan’s first AI chatbot for Hotels first made available at Holiday Inn Osaka Namba. This setup allows the customers to enjoy the full experience while having peace of mind as their health and safety are evidently being prioritised.
Life Science businesses can make use of AI-powered Chatbots to cater to a wide range of services without the immediate need for a warm body. It can be deployed to provide personalised and highly relevant health information on demand, book appointments and consultations with healthcare professionals, and even provide needed monitoring support for patients under therapy.
Banking Industry: OmniChannel Engagement
Traditional banking has been evolving to cater to customers who are accustomed to technology. Digital innovations in technology have been necessary to reach new customers and provide them with banking services. The key to this is understanding consumer preferences and providing them with multiple relevant channels to transact, be it via mobile, online, in-person or through a self-serve kiosk.
One great example of a bank utilising omnichannel engagement is Bank of America. On top of the conventional branch visit, transactions can be done digitally via easily accessible web and mobile assets. Customers can also opt for a digital branch experience where services are rendered by AI robots or machines. By providing viable engagement choices, customers feel empowered and are more likely to develop brand loyalty.
Omni-channel engagement may be challenging to set-up, but brands under life science are sure to benefit from this approach. For one, medical or health service customers may be given several options to avail consultation. They may be given the choice of a mobile diagnostic app, online digital forms, video conference, or even via phone call. Medical facilities and diagnostic clinics, on the other hand, can also provide several channels where the patient can retrieve medical test results and get assistance. Providing relevant channels brings a lot of convenience to the customer and provides more value.
Beauty & Personal Care Industry: Deep Customer Understanding
Do you really know your customers? Do you take the time to talk to them and understand what drives their actions? Beauty and Personal Care brand Glossier does exactly that. Focusing on customer experience, they set up a team dedicated to understanding customer needs, desires, and issues. This team, dubbed as the “gTeam” undertakes direct two-way conversations with customers to get feedback. Actual people are at the forefront of customer conversations and not bots or autoresponders. The gTeam asks details of the actual concerns of the customers and what exactly they can do to improve their services. Information gathered is then fed to the rest of the company to come up with better strategies for loyalty building, product development and addressing issues.
This is one step to a great customer experience. Taking the time to talk to customers and understanding them helps build a deeper relationship and breeds loyalty. Medical device brands and even pharmaceuticals can take a page out this approach. By taking more time to talk to end users, understanding them, and getting valuable feedback, brands not only have the opportunity to retain customers, but maybe even brand advocates.
Finance Industry: Customer Education
The financial industry can be a highly technical industry and requires a lot of information to fully grasp and appreciate. Consumer education is highly important not only to generate more business but also to guide customers to their individual financial goals. Financial industry giant, Deloitte, has taken considerable effort to provide relevant information to their customers (and non-customers to some extent). They came up with Deloitte Insights, a knowledge sharing hub that covers vast topics in the form of blog posts, webcasts, researches, articles, videos and podcasts. It even has microsites for specialised audience segments. Financial information can easily be accessed via web or mobile and even allows the user to curate own personalised library. By providing an extensive but easily searchable content hub, customers can access and consume most relevant information they need in their financial journey. This in turn helps solidify the brand as the industry expert in the minds of its audience.
Much like the financial industry, most (if not all) Life Science brands may lean towards the complex and technical. Having a rich, accessible, and searchable resource of customer relevant information gives customers the opportunity to learn correct product usage, recommended practices, and even troubleshooting for medical devices, among others. The actual content and its format has to be carefully taken into consideration depending on consumer preferences and comprehension to maximise effectivity and encourage usage. A well executed knowledge sharing hub enables customers to efficiently use products and services and can help minimise incidents of customer service requests.
A great customer experience is at the heart of every great industry, every successful business. This pandemic actually provides brands the opportunity to revisit old structures and make way for better ones. Although some companies that embraced digital earlier may have some advantage, businesses are on equal footing in terms of redefining customer experience in this new normal. To move forward, brands under the Life Science industry need to learn, adapt, and execute.
 McKinsey & Company, “How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever”, 2020
 DigitalCommerce360, “Why an omnichannel strategy matters”, 2020
 Microsoft, “2017 State of Global Customer Service Report”, 2017
Moengage, “7 Brands That Have Mastered Omnichannel Marketing”, 2020
Glossy, “How Glossier’s gTeam is changing the role of customer service”, 2018
Forbes, “50 Stats That Prove The Value Of Customer Experience”, 2019