Chart in Focus: HCP Self-service portals
Chart in Focus: HCP Self-service portals
More than ever, multitasking dominates today’s society. You pay your bills online, order your groceries and even book your holidays online.
So if you are a physician, why would you not want to talk with a rep online, order samples or take some online courses about a new product indication?
Features used in HCP portals
The majority of pharmaceutical companies, unfortunately, do not offer this type of online services to professionals today.
The value of developing a self-service portal for physicians lies in offering an integrated platform for cross-brand customer service that extends relationship building activities beyond normal office hours for today’s increasingly hard-to-reach physicians. A well-orchestrated self-service portal is an extension of the reps toolkit.
According to Manhattan Research1, of the online promotional activities that are conducted by physicians in the past year, the highest reach is seen in interactive self-service portals, with 46% of physicians using them (figure 1).
Furthermore it is interesting to observe that physicians, who regularly visit self-service portals are also more likely to engage in other online activities offered by pharmaceutical companies (figure 3).
As a result, tracking physician participation to self-service portals offers a good indicator for channel preference and can be used for lead qualification when using other online channels.
For example, if you want to setup an eRep campaign, the likely acceptance rate is 45% for self-service portal participants, compared to only 20% for non-participants. By doing this exercise effectively, you can potentially save a lot of initial recruitment costs when deploying this channel by simply choosing the right audience to start with.
But even some of the most visited portals are not having much success in encouraging repeat visits. Most portals see physicians coming back only 3 to 5 times per year on average, compared to physicians going to sites like Medscape an average of over 100 times per year2.
This infrequent visitation rate highlights that it is critical that companies continue to market their portal through sites and sources that physicians use on a daily or weekly basis.
In general, when rolling out a self-service portal, there are 3 critical success factors:
1. Stakeholder engagement. The implementation of a self-service portal affects all layers of the organization since it provides cross-brand customer services. As a result, the project might become so big from the start, that it is predestined to fail. In most cases it is better to start with one or a few therapy areas, which makes it more digestible. Once the right process is in place, new TAs and/or target groups can be systematically introduced.
2. Compelling content. This is probably one of the biggest pitfalls after the launch of a self-service portal, causing physicians not to come back. Therefore is it important to establish an editorial board in the organization that meets on regular time intervals to determine the content of each TA. Furthermore, as the name suggests, it is a customers service portal. Therefore the portal should contain enough interesting “pull” services to keep the interest of your audience. Examples of such pull services can be the ability to have a live chat with a medical expert, being able to order samples online and watch CME accredited courses or webcasts.
3. Salesforce integration. A critical success factor for promotion of a self-service portal is the commitment of the salesforce. They should not see it as a threat but rather as an extension of their customer service portfolio. An engaged salesforce is probably the most effective recruitment channel for self-service portals. Therefore, promotion of it should be part of their objectives.
1. Manhattan Research, ePharma Physician v.10.0
2. Manhattan Research, ePharma Physician v8.0
Written by Beverly Smet
For more information about this article,
please contact Beverly Smet
Profile Beverly Smet