Physician Satisfaction May Influence Oncology Prescribing

Taking steps to improve customer satisfaction may increase oncology revenue for manufacturers.

Customer service is important for business success in any market. Results from a new survey conducted by ZS Associates suggests that providers may be more likely to prescribe an oncology drug manufactured by a company they have had a positive experience with opposed to a company they have had a negative experience with.

The results from the 2017 Oncology CX Tracker suggest that customer service from drug manufacturers may affect prescribing habits.

However, not many companies place a high performance score on provider satisfaction. In fact, the investigators found that of 24 manufacturers included, only 6 received a positive Net Provider Score (NPS), according to the study.

"An industry-leading customer experience can be a critical advantage, and yet many pharmaceutical companies have not invested enough into creating a good experience for their customers,” said Jon Roffman, managing principal at Zs Associates. “With 836 oncology molecules in development, however, the competition for physician attention is about to become even more intense.”

These findings show that a good oncology product coupled with poor customer service may not receive the same provider attention it would receive with optimal customer interactions. The investigators reported that while an efficacious drug is important, it accounts for less than 32% of the provider’s overall experience, according to the study.

“It’s time for oncology manufacturers to begin taking concrete actions, from developing new support services to designing a purposeful customer experience and orchestrating that experience when engaging customers across personal and non-personal channels,” said Sankalp Sethi, manager at ZS Associates.

The investigators found a strong link between product pipelines, strong launches, and customer satisfaction, but they suggest that oncology manufacturers must play a more active and innovative role when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Overall, interaction with support services accounted for 22% of the total experience, while interaction with people working for the manufacturer accounted for 20%, according to the study.

The authors note that 2 of the oncology manufacturers included in the survey were able to achieve positive NPS by implementing novel ways to improve the customer experience. These companies invested in technology to make interactions seamless and also developed new internal roles focused on improving the customer service, in addition to having a strong product, according to the study.

As a result of improved customer experience, the annual oncology revenue for both companies increased more than 50%, according to the study.

These findings suggest that manufacturers should take a renewed look at what they are doing to ensure that physicians are satisfied and will prescribe their oncology drugs.

“Many companies mistakenly believe that product performance alone is sufficient to win a position in a physician’s consideration. In fact, our research indicates areas where some companies that focused solely on developing drugs missed the boat,” said Pranav Srivastava, associate principal at ZS Associates. “Focusing on improvements in patient services, field personnel, reputation and online engagement has an unmistakable impact on customer experience.”