In a post earlier this week, I encouraged you to think about mistakes and how you handle them in your pharmacy. Mistakes are inevitable and knowing how to acknowledge them, repair any damage caused, and move forward is so important.
But that doesn’t mean that errors and inaccuracies have to be a part of your day to day. In fact, they really shouldn't be. It goes without saying that accuracy is more important to pharmacies than pretty much any other retail business. And while you have checks and balances in place to ensure that your pharmacy customers get the proper medications, there are some other areas where accuracy matters that often get overlooked.
The wrong price – The product has a sticker on it that says $5.99 but when you scan it, the register says it should sell for $6.49. Now you are faced with two choices. Honor the price on the product and lose money, or make the customer upset by sticking to the price in your system. Neither option seems very attractive. So why not just avoid that situation all together? If you use shelf labels printed through your POS system, it’s easy to make sure that the pricing on the shelf matches the pricing at the point-of-sale. As price updates come through, simply print new labels for products with changes, put one label on the shelf (instead of individually stickering products- what a waste of time!) and you’re done. Plus, you can print labels just for the products that you carry instead of having to sift through hundreds of labels that you don’t need and risk missing something.
Incorrect charge to credit card – You go to a store and make a purchase with your credit card. They use a stand-alone credit card reader. They ring up the total on their register and then punch that total in to their credit card reader manually. It takes a little longer for the transaction to run, but that doesn’t bother you. What does bother you is when you get home and check your receipt, or when you balance your bank account at the end of the month, you find that instead of charging you $10.00 the clerk accidentally hit an extra 0 and charged you $100.00. Most people are going to get pretty upset. Even if the situation is rectified quickly, most customers will think twice before shopping at that store again. You can also have the opposite happen and instead of charging a customer $100.00, they only get charged $10.00. If you catch the discrepancy (which you might not) you then have to inconvenience a customer to try and correct the error. Integrating your credit card processing through your Pharmacy POS terminal is much easier. You don’t have to worry about a simple slip of the finger causing an incorrect charge, plus the transaction will run much more smoothly and quickly.
Cash Management – Handling cash properly is just as important as processing credit cards with accuracy. If you’re over or short in your cash drawers, you need to know so you can identify potential issues with staff issuing incorrect change or get a head start on bigger issues like theft. You need to use your pharmacy POS system to monitor overages and shortages. Consider using dual drawer functionality and assigning clerks to a specific drawer during their shift so you can more easily identify employees who may be having problems.
The lost signature – While your customer may never know that you don’t have a signature on file for a prescription they picked up, an auditor certainly will. Even one missing signature might cost you. If your POS system doesn’t provide you with some reassurance in this area, you have a big problem. You should know without a doubt that your pharmacy POS system wouldn’t let a clerk sell a prescription without capturing a signature. And those signatures should be easy to retrieve.
Don’t underestimate the impact that one mistake, even if it’s relatively minor, can have on a customer’s confidence in your pharmacy. Use the technology based tools at your disposal to eradicate unnecessary errors so you can focus on the bigger picture for your pharmacy.