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5 Ways to Impress Your Pharmacy Customers
Impressing your pharmacy customers is a tall order. Here are 5 ways that you can set your independent or institutional pharmacy apart.
Last week, one of my co-workers shared this article, How to Blow Your Boss’s Mind. It offers sound and reasonable advice on ways to set yourself apart at work. It’s good advice for anyone to take to heart. As I read the article, I thought it would be great for pharmacy owners and managers to pass on to their staff. But then I started wondering, what can the pharmacy owners themselves take from this advice. While some of you may not have a boss per-say, there is a group of people that you have to impress. Your customers.
Let’s take a look at how a few of the items in this great article can be adapted from blowing your bosses mind, to blowing your customers’ minds.
Beyond developing the skills you need for your job, learn about your company’s industry, competitors, latest developments, and challenges.- From an employee perspective, it’s important to know about the industry in which we work. As an independent pharmacist, you’re probably already an expert. But taking the time to understand your competition will help you stay ahead of the curve. It’s important not only to look at their technology use and product offerings, but their overall mission and service practices as well. You can take things a step further and take the time to really understand the health concerns that your customer base faces today. A little empathy goes a long way.
Instead of always having the answer, pre-empt the question – If you can meet all of your customers’ needs before they may even know they have them, your pharmacy will become indispensable to your customers. I’ve seen this put another way, from author Daniel Pink in the book “To Sell is Human.” He phrased it as “solve a problem they didn’t know they had". For independent pharmacies as well as institutional pharmacies, I think this really comes down to working one on one with your patients to offer counseling, disease state management and much needed advice. This is a gap that many people don’t even know exists in their health care regimen, but once they understand the value of a dedicated pharmacist, you can bet they’ll keep coming back for more.
Instead of owning up to mistakes once they’re discovered, bring them to light yourself – The original article says it best here. “Accountability is a lost art.” And today’s consumer really isn’t use to retail businesses taking responsibility for problems. So if you notice that a customer didn’t get correct change, was charged too much for an item, or one of their prescriptions got missed in will-call, take the time to reach out and fix the problem before it really becomes one. Once a mistake is made, there’s no going back, but how you handle it makes all the difference. (As a side note, using a pharmacy point-of-sale system can greatly reduce the chance of human error. Interfaces will tell you that additional prescriptions are available for pickup and the system can help employee’s ringing up sales by calculating accurate change and manage accurate pricing.)
Build relationships – In the article, the author advises to build relationships with other departments. Instead of departments, insert customers. If you work with RMS, you may often hear us refer to our customer base as “the RMS family”. We love getting to know our customers. In your pharmacy, if you can create a personal relationship with your customers, they are likely to reciprocate and are much more likely to keep coming back.
Be the calm one in a crisis – Some of us may be a little tightly wound, or a little excitable. You may experience situations where both customers and employees become a little stressed. But the person in charge really sets the tone if a problem has to be escalated. Emotion does have a place in many business situations (for example being passionate about what you do and truly caring about your customers), but when tensions are already high, if you can maintain composure, it’s much more likely that the customer will end up feeling positive about the situation. Your employees are also likely to follow your lead if they see that it’s a little more difficult to ruffle your feathers.
I highly recommend reading the original article as I found it very insightful. I think everyone, no matter their position in the hierarchy, can use this advice to improve their own personal performance and impress your pharmacy customers.