COVID-19-related support calls during pandemic
Ashfield Engage blazes a trail in patient wellbeing with Salesforce
Connected consumer experiences are nice to have. But when it comes to our health, taking a holistic approach can have a huge impact on our wellbeing.
Trailblazing company Ashfield Engage delivers customer-centric services to patients and healthcare providers on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. It’s on a mission to join the dots across the healthcare sector with Salesforce to create a perfectly functioning ecosystem that better supports our health and wellbeing.
“Everything we do at Ashfield Engage is designed to improve the patient experience,” said Eric Redline, VP of Omnichannel Strategy and Implementation. “Salesforce gives us one platform with all the functionality we need to transform the healthcare sector.”
Since 2020, the company has pioneered two projects to launch healthcare support as it should be – a one-stop shop to support the patient journey called Trak360™, and a global support centre to address COVID-19-related vaccine questions during the pandemic.
A smarter approach to healthcare
Ashfield Engage, part of UDG Healthcare, is an expert global partner in customer strategy and execution. It has over 20 years’ experience with a team of over 5,000 employees, delivering services in more than 50 countries. Offering services across Medical Affairs, Market Access, Commercial, Patient Solutions, and Event Experiences, Ashfield Engage helps customers to build an ecosystem of knowledge and support around the patient, providing them with knowledge, support, and medicines when and where they need them.
To give patients truly exceptional care, healthcare needs to be joined up, communications clear and accessible, and both the patient and their support network need to be educated on what to expect as an illness or treatment progresses.
This requires a delicate balance of privacy and centralised data to personalise the experience and unlock 360-degree visibility. “There’s a huge demand for a consumer-like experience across all sectors, and healthcare is no different,” said Justin Kress, Business Unit Director at Ashfield Engage. “People are more willing to trust companies with their data in exchange for a more personalised service, and it’s important to have the systems in place to meet that demand.”
Fast access to services is also important when it comes to health, and giving patients access to the right information, at the right time on their preferred channel, is a key part of the company’s omnichannel strategy.
“Salesforce gives us the opportunity to differentiate our services and put us ahead of the competition,” said Redline. “It’s easy for staff to navigate, intuitive to use, and has the scale we need as a global business.”
Improving patient engagement
For healthcare providers, maximising patient engagement is a core priority, and improving operational efficiency means staff have more time to spend on compassionate and meaningful patient interactions.
To help its customers achieve this, Ashfield Engage launched Trak360™, a central hub to provide all the resources and support staff need to give customers a great experience.
Customer programmes – such as a support journey for a patient receiving chemotherapy – can be run on Trak360™ to help care providers or drug companies connect with patients at the right time, with the right support from a curated library of verified resources specifically tailored for that programme.
Empowering clinical educators
Trak360™ is built on Health Cloud as the central CRM and secure connection to patient records. It’s also integrated with Field Service so support staff can better manage visits to patients in the field and have the full patient history at their fingertips.
“Clinical educators visit patients in their homes to provide supplemental education on how to administer their own infusion medication, for example,” said Jack McFeely, Senior Director Patient Solutions at Ashfield Engage. “With Trak360™ they can plan their day to make the most of the time spent with patients, and feed back to physicians on how they’re doing for that holistic overview of the patient.”
This is hugely beneficial to clinical educators who can have hundreds of geographically dispersed patients. One agent based in the U.S., for example, uses the solution to optimise travel time across 16 states to visit 150 patients.
The right communications at the right time
Trak360™ also uses Marketing Cloud components, such as Journey Builder and Advertising Studio, to send patients or physicians on personalised, trigger-based journeys, and capture metrics around engagement.
“Journey Builder is incredible, and we’ve only just started using it,” said McFeely. “We’re using AB testing to find out which tactics are the most effective and use them to educate medics on new drugs or give patients information on their condition, for example.”
The solution can also generate Clinical Educator appointment reminders for patients via SMS, but it’s not the only way Trak360™ helps them keep on top of their healthcare. Stephanie Varden, Manager of Patient Solutions Operations in the UK, and team, built a portal on Experience Cloud to give patients and healthcare professionals a personalised, self-service experience. Physicians can also use the portal to get self-service access to the latest knowledge articles and resources, which have been through rigorous compliance workflows to ensure only accurate and up-to-date information is shared.
A rapid response to COVID-19
Ashfield Engage’s digital transformation proved to be well-timed. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, staff pivoted to remote working quickly and easily. “Salesforce makes it so seamless to operate remotely, that our overall customer satisfaction ratings actually continued to improve during the pandemic and are currently at 4.7 for programs using Trak360™,” said Elizabeth Johnston, Marketing Manager at Ashfield Engage.
But Ashfield Engage had a bigger role to play. When a pharmaceutical customer needed COVID-19-related product support for its vaccines in the US and Canada, the team stood up a global contact centre in just five weeks, instead of months.
Built on Service Cloud, the centre empowers 80+ agents to handle up to 10,000 calls a day with an average handling time of 5.5 minutes. “Service Cloud made it simple to deal with the rapid pace of change we were seeing with all things related to the pandemic,” said Kress. “This virus is new to everyone, so there’s new information coming in all the time, and with Salesforce we know our team always has the most accurate data at their fingertips.”
As the vaccine rollout continued across the world, the contact centre scaled up to support 49 countries and an impressive 36 languages.
New ecommerce platform unlocks more sales opportunities
As its business grows, Egress needed to ensure it could track every customer transaction on every channel. And that meant transforming its ecommerce offering. “Online sales were not captured in a customer’s record, which meant we were losing out on opportunities to sell more licences,” explained Sudworth. “With Salesforce B2B Commerce, account managers can now see if a customer has completed - or abandoned – an online purchase. This helps them have more informed conversations and increase conversion rates.”
By hosting its online store on Salesforce B2B Commerce, Egress has also enriched the customer experience and optimised its ecommerce processes. It has integrated the solution with global payment technology from Digital River, which increases the payment options for customers and simplifies compliance with cross-border trading rules. “With Salesforce B2B Commerce, we can scale our ecommerce offering into new markets more easily,” added Sudworth.
Getting fit for the future
As Ashfield Engage continues to innovate and roll out new services to customers, Salesforce gives the company a solid foundation with the flexibility and scale to support a vast number of use cases.
“Salesforce is great for us because it’s so easy to customise or configure for many different healthcare needs,” added McFeely. This flexibility also means services can be tailored for different markets – seamlessly handling both private healthcare markets, like the US model, and referrals from the heavily regulated NHS in Britain.
Ashfield Engage has exciting plans in the pipeline. It plans to integrate natural language processing (NLP) voice technology with Salesforce to understand the emotions behind customer calls.
“By tracking emotions against healthcare data, we’ll be able to predict how a patient might be feeling at every stage of their treatment,” explained Redline. “That means we can better train our staff to support patients during difficult times. Medications can seriously impact a person’s mood, so it’s important we prioritise the wellbeing of our staff and make sure they feel confident and capable of handling challenging calls.”
While joined-up healthcare is undoubtedly the future, Ashfield Engage is leading the way with a connected experience that doesn’t just focus on illness, but on wellbeing. “One size simply doesn’t fit all when it comes to healthcare. With Salesforce, we can tailor the patient experience so it’s better for them, it’s better for their support network, and physicians have the right information at their fingertips to give the highest levels of care,” concluded Redline.