A framework for customer experience studies with physicians

Effective marketing of a (pharmaceutical) product reaches your target audience, delivers a message that resonates, and triggers a reaction in (prescribing) behaviour. A framework of reach, resonance and reaction is useful to measure the impact of marketing activity.

Customer experience

Nielsen developed this framework for its advertising and media buying clients, but it is equally useful to structure customer experience surveys for pharmaceutical products. Given the shift to multi-channel marketing, a conventional Detail Follow Up (DFU) survey is too narrow, we need to look at the Customer eXperience (CX) across channels, not only those that were detailed.

Syndicated studies that monitor marketing activity across channels are standardised and do not take your specific campaign into account. Because a CX survey is customised for your brand, your target customers and market segment it operates in, it will deliver more in-depth understanding. This ultimately helps you improve commercial effectiveness.


The first component in a CX study is reach  how many visited customers recalled the discussion. recalled the visitReach is defined as the proportion of doctors in the total population that have been visited and recall one or multiple of your key messages. We can calculate this metric if we know the total population, the number of physicians visited and how many of those visited recalled the visit. Population statistics can be found on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) website, and your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software will be able to tell you the number of individual physicians visited in a given timeframe. A well-executed DFU survey will ask both spontaneous and prompted recall of recent representative visits, and give you the number of  screened-out respondents that did not recall a visit. 


The second component in a CX study is resonance – how key selling messages perform. Best practice is to include questions that assess key selling messages on  dimensions such as clarity, credibility, consistency and competitiveness. A good message is easily understood, supported with facts, consistent with earlier touch points and highlights a unique aspect of the brand, giving it competitiveness. 


The third component in a CX study is then reaction – having reached the customer with a message that resonated, what is the reaction, or change in behaviour? One way of asking this is on a 7 or 10 point scale for likelihood to prescribe for the next suitable patient, and calculating means and top 2 box scores. An alternative approach is to ask the doctor to distribute 100 suitable patients across a list of options. Asking this both at the start of the survey, when the respondent has not yet been primed with questions about recent representative visits and the messages, and again at the end, allows for a comparison.