How Can Big Pharma Use Chat Bots to Redefine Consumer Engagement?

Chat bots are redefining how consumers engage with brands. However, before Big Pharma can begin leveraging artificial intelligence (AI)-based solutions, we have to change how industry marketers perceive them, transitioning from “chat bots” to conversational user interfaces (UIs) while learning how existing user experiences can be transformed using this innovative technology. 

Both chat bots and conversational UIs are computer programs designed to mimic human conversation via text or auditory means. Chat bots, however, specifically utilize AI as a pillar, which can unpredictably alter a user’s path and experience. A conversational UI takes a more linear approach to natural conversation, providing a distinct user path throughout the interface. It calls for providing copywriters the ability to reinforce a predetermined user flow and combining pre-canned responses with interface elements to ensure the proper user experience is delivered.



If you’re asking yourself why we as an industry need to move away from the paradigm of delivering the same tactics via the same channels, know this: We are witnessing an evolution in the way people interact with software, brands and technology. Interactions that were once personal (such as phone calls) have quickly transitioned into texts, messaging and social media. 

41% of millennials say that they would be “truly satisfied” if they could use messaging or SMS to connect with companies and organizations where they do business, according to the Center for Generational Kinetics.

During our research, we recognized three models in which we, as an industry, must initially assess this technology prior to ideating its potential use cases.

1. The Intelligent Model The most intriguing, yet least likely to work in Pharma. This model uses machine learning as its main method of delivering a natural language response that is unpredictable.

2. The Linear Model A process that provides a clear sense of familiarity by utilizing a pre-defined set of questions and responses. With this approach, the brand can deliver a more curated experience in a controlled environment that ensures compliance.

3. The Hybrid Model The ideal method of development for Big Pharma. By leveraging the linear model as its foundation, Machine learning is incorporated to prepare for future advancements within the technology. It offers full control of the experience, making it a more suitable venture for our regulatory teams.

But how do we use them? 

A conversational UI must be focused, fine-tuned and perfectly curated to deliver just the right experience. Providing a more personalized, cross-channel user experience. With fewer barriers to entry, 24/7 accessibility and complete anonymity. That said, we’ve identified pinnacle moments within the patient journey where conversational UIs can deliver just that.

1. Doctor Discussion Guide: Providing patients with a natural experience to help them communicate more effectively with their doctors.

2. Benefits Verification Support: Simplifying the complexities of the perplexing benefits verification process.

3. User Registration and Savings Card Distribution: Meeting the business objectives of Pharma brands to drive user registrations, building CRM opt-ins along with the distribution of a savings card.

4. Customer Support and Content Delivery: Offering a more accessible and engaging method of communication and content delivery to mitigate the need for one of the largest cost drivers’ brands experience for “on-med” patients.

5. Medication and Refill Reminder: Facilitating adherence by initiating a conversation with a user reminding them, much like a friend or loved one, to take or refill medication. 

Today we must move quickly to a reality where brands learn how to interact with consumers the way they expect us to, which means a focus on the apps and technology they are already using on a daily basis. 

The only obstacles we face are those we place before our brands. The solution is there, waiting for us to recognize that the typical “rules of engagement” are shifting and the rise of the chat bot is upon us — delivering convenience, personalization and support where consumers live and breathe, face down and immersed within “the internet of things.”

2 comments about "How Can Big Pharma Use Chat Bots to Redefine Consumer Engagement?".
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  1. charles bachrach from BCCLTD, March 10, 2017 at 1:46 p.m.

    The ONLY thing "big pharma" can learn is from the Europeans!!!  In Europe drugs (over the
    counter and prescription) are FAR less expensive than in the U.S.   A major fault lies with our
    useless Congress who benefit themseslves from the pharma companies and lobbies.  And the JERK who is now President won't be of any help...he probably takes money "under the table"
    from them among others....

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 10, 2017 at 2 p.m.

    First, let's see how the chatbots react to the drugs. They don't ? You know what they can do with their chatbots.

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