Nudging Pharma Customer Experience


The Pharma CX Summit, held virtually this year, brought together customer experience professionals from all corners of the healthcare ecosystem to talk about the latest thinking and approaches in the space. 

When it comes to behavior change, CX is an interesting and extremely relevant opportunity to apply nudges. It represents a fascinating balancing act between meeting your target audience where they are, while also guiding them in the direction you’d like them to go. It requires both a deep understanding of the audience as well as a deft application of behavioral science principles to create a seamless and mutually beneficial experience. 

A key thing to remember in approaching developing any customer experience in healthcare is that our stakeholders – whether they be patients, healthcare providers, payers, or beyond – are human first.  Therefore, we must empathize with them as such, and design our experience with a human in mind as the core foundation. 

From a nudge perspective, the key CX principles can be summarized in two very simple ideas: 

1. If you want people to do something, make it as easy as possible 

2. The inverse: if you don’t want people to do something, add friction to make it more difficult* 

*There can be talk here of what’s known as “dark UX”, or UX that is misleading or tricks users into doing something they don’t want to do. However, in many cases, especially in healthcare, what we would like to nudge our customer to do via our CX typically aligns with their health goals, too – they may just need help to get there as easily as possible.   

For both of those principles, the same Drivers of Influence can come into play in different ways when designing your CX tactics.  Essentially, think of the positive version being used for making the desired behavior easy, and the negative inverse for making the undesired behavior more difficult.  

1. Default 

  • Pre-checked boxes or pre-filled forms 
  • Automated follow-up communications and appointment scheduling 
  • Design services and programs to be opt-out where appropriate 

2. Framing 

  • Frame the experience as something customized for that customer, or as something that many other people like them enjoy 

3. One step at a time 

  • Timely reminders 
  • Providing information to customers when they need it, rather than all at once at the beginning 

4. Easiness 

  • Design the experience to require as few steps as possible 
  • Minimize friction in processes (even the number of times they have to click matters!) 
  • Make the interface visually appealing 
  • Auto-fill as much information as possible where appropriate 

5. Salience 

  • Make the CTA at each step very clear and very easy to find (for example, make the button they need to click big at the top of the page, not small at the bottom!) 
  • Follow Miller’s Law – we can only process and pay attention to ~7 things at once, so design your information and user interface with this in mind 

While many of these tactics are digital-focused, given the current circumstances and ways that CX must now be primarily delivered, remember that all touchpoints with the brand, in any context, are opportunities to apply behavioral science principles to optimize the customer experience. 

To hear more about behavioral science in healthcare CX, check out the interview we did ahead of the Pharma CX Summit to share our POV. 

Interested in knowing more about how to use behavioral science to optimize your customer experience? Get in touch