Drug Manufacturers Lack in Oncology Provider Engagement

In a survey conducted by a sales and marketing firm, oncologists, oncology nurses, and oncology administrators have expressed displeasure with the customer experience rendered by oncology manufacturers.

In a survey conducted by a sales and marketing firm, oncologists, oncology nurses, and oncology administrators have expressed displeasure with the customer experience rendered by oncology manufacturers.

ZS Associates conducted a survey among 260 of these oncology professionals about their experience with 20 prominent oncology therapy manufacturers. The data from this survey was then combined with claims data generated by Symphony Health Solutions, a market research company. According to managing principal Jon Roffman, customer satisfaction and loyalty were significantly negative. “But there is hope. While many oncology companies already meaningfully engage with some of their customers, most could benefit from a more coordinated, consistent and positive customer experience,” said Roffman.

This experience translates into a big loss for oncology drug developers, according to ZS. The company estimates that the industry could add $50 million to $75 million in sales for every $1 billion that is currently met. A positive experience for the oncology providers will allow for more discussions and also allow for improved patient access.

In their press release announcing the findings, ZS claims that the growing competition in the oncology field and the growing number of indications that each drug targets, has made it imperative that drug manufacturers find better ways to engage oncology care providers—beyond sales associates, whom oncologists are usually quite reluctant to meet. And ZS claims that the engagement of providers is quite important in the current discussions of “value” in the US healthcare system.

The ZS Customer Experience Tracker—the tool that was used to gather the data—found that sales representatives from companies that scored low on promoter scores were seen only by 63% of their target oncologists, while those from companies that scored high were seen by 93% of their target oncologists. The high scorers were also in e-mail contact with their target oncologists.

According to ZS, in addition to a good product, ensuring physician engagement online and through an active sales force is important.

“For oncology manufacturers with multibillion-dollar portfolios, an evolved customer experience that meets the needs of providers and patients can create incremental opportunity equivalent to the launch of a small new product,” said ZS managing principal Maria Whitman.