Last week, I was fortunate to be able to attend CBI’s 11th Annual Conference on Biopharmaceutical Contact Centers in Philadelphia, PA. The event was well-attended – with about 100 pharma professionals in attendance – including contact center front line management, service providers and vendors, and customer experience executives.

The speaker lineup was strong, with a mix of expert solutions providers and experienced system owners including:

CBI surveyed the attendees prior to the conference, and the results influenced much of the discussion at the event. According to the survey, over 50% of respondents said they were planning to implement more extensive IVR as a cost-cutting measure. Enhanced IVR usage/routing and CTI screenpops are among solutions already implemented to reduce cost per contact. These results indicate there is a growing understanding that automating customer interactions and leveraging technology to enhance the experience are on the forefront of the plans for leading Pharma companies.

The survey also showed that 75% of respondents are not currently considering offshoring their Contact Centers. 47% of respondents are not planning any changes regarding globalization or regionalization of their operations. This shows that Contact Centers and customer communications in general are still highly valued internal capabilities, and there are some significant hurdles to being comfortable in letting this part of the operation outside the walls of the Headquarters.

The discussions and presentations had 3 main themes:

  • Customer Experience is king
  • Social Media is real and must be managed
  • Finding the right operational model is tough

I’ll break out my analysis of each of these into their own posts to come. Stay tuned for more insight from this invigorating event!