Eliminating disruption with Eddy Effect metric elevates CX


Between ongoing drug shortages, navigating complex insurance benefits, understanding the confusing language of resources, and more, numerous hurdles slow — and even prevent — a patient’s access to medication.

Too many patients struggle to navigate pharmacy processes to get information and, ultimately, the medication they need. Understanding the Eddy Effect — a continuous loop of disruptions within the patient experience that stalls the preferred outcome — can help streamline this process and significantly reduce customer frustration, while improving their access to medicine.

And the critical strategy for improving the customer journey and helping patients access medication and information they need smoothly, efficiently, and with as little stress as possible? Listening.

Insights hidden in customer conversations help improve interactions between customers and agents, and the right technology can aggregate this information to understand precisely where people consistently experience friction. With AI-driven tools to gather and analyse data, organisations can identify disruptions, improve patient interactions, and reduce barriers to patient access to medication.

The danger of the Eddy Effect

Like river whirlpools sometimes trap unsuspecting boaters and make it very difficult to escape, repetitive actions or experiences can “trap” people in a seemingly endless loop in their customer journey.

Customers experience this phenomenon when the system fails to give clear direction or guidance — or provides too many options creating a “choice paralysis” scenario. The result? A frustrating customer experience leading to disengagement and poor reviews. Negative feedback doesn’t take long to skew public perception about a company and lead to lost business.

No industry is immune to the Eddy Effect, including the pharmaceutical industry. Here’s how the cycle — feeling, seeking understanding, ongoing confusion, repeat — often begins.

  1. A patient becomes frustrated because they’ve received the wrong prescription in the mail. They worry that the correct medicine won’t arrive in time because their current supply is running low.
  2. The patient may attempt to determine how the mistake occurred, thinking perhaps their doctor sent the wrong prescription, for example. They call customer service to seek resolution, but the phone call may not yield satisfactory results — like an immediate solution or answer. The patient may not fully understand the origin of the problem or the next steps.
  3. A few days pass, and the patient hears nothing and calls again — still confused and increasingly upset and stressed. They tell the agent, “I talked to someone two days ago who said they’d look into it and call me back. I haven’t heard anything yet, and now I’m worried my meds will run out before the new prescription arrives. So, I called again, and I still don’t have any answers. I need my meds immediately.”
  4. More days pass, and the cycle continues, with the patient making additional calls to get an answer. And every time, the patient talks to a different agent and must repeat the story yet again. Their frustration blossoms into full-blown anger, and even panic, which is evident when they tell the agent, “I’ve called multiple times and every time I get a different response about the status of my prescription. I’m not the one who caused the problem, but I’m the one suffering. How much longer must I wait until it’s resolved and my medicine arrives?”

Now, consider that the average customer spends about 42 minutes on hold when they call customer service — and many problems require two or three phone calls to resolve. In fact, the average success rate of solving an issue is only 46%. This exponentially impacts the company’s and customer’s time and resources when disruptions prevent a smooth resolution.

Delayed access to care, hurdles preventing easier access to medication, and difficulties navigating and clarifying information about benefits are all roadblocks negatively impacting the overall customer experience. And with more pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) requiring patients to use their own mail-order services for prescriptions used to treat common conditions, as well as rare and complex diseases, the more opportunities for patients to find themselves caught in an Eddy.

Eliminating the Eddy Effect

To avoid the Eddy Effect, manufacturers should adopt a customer-centric approach and focus on simplifying the customer journey and providing clear, concise instructions guiding the patients to their desired outcomes.

Leveraging the Eddy Effect as a metric to identify and mitigate the shortcomings of the customer journey can help healthcare leaders understand where disruptions occur at scale. This data could include insights on:

  • Patient stressors and frustrations.
  • Areas of concern at the holistic and granular levels.
  • Opportunities for additional agent training.

Conversational tools like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) are effective for collecting, analysing, and constructing meaning from these unstructured, conversational data sources. Why? Because listening to patients’ voices generates feedback in real-time.

Unlike surveys, which can only capture a snapshot of feedback at a single moment in time, these unstructured conversations provide a deeper context of the dynamics, disruptions, and frustrations impacting the customer journey.

Leveraging the Eddy Effect as a KPI for improving CX

Pharma faces many challenges in finding ways to collect, listen to, and truly understand what their customers are saying. Surveys and requests for feedback offer some insight, but not the complete picture leaders need to address the challenges their customers face and deliver a best-in-class customer experience.

The biggest challenge? Listening to the vast amount of data collected daily from customer calls, social media, data app integrations, and more. Fragmented feedback with inconsistent response rates makes it even more difficult to accurately understand customers’ voices, thoughts, and behaviours.

So, while pharmacies should strive to eliminate the Eddy Effect, it serves as a key performance metric to implement effective change, streamlining access to medication and improving customer experience.

Deriving meaning from these conversations uncovers trends, identifies when Eddy Effect disruptions are most likely to trap customers, monitors quality of care over time, and elevates the service customers receive.

Amy Brown
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Amy Brown
16 June, 2023