December 3, 2020
Providing excellent customer service at your pharmacy is one of the best ways to build relationships with patients and retain them for the long term.
It’s cheaper to retain your current patients by keeping them happy than to try and acquire brand new patients. If you can increase your retention by 5 percent, you can increase your profit by 25 percent.
Patients who receive great customer service are also more likely to refer your pharmacy to their friends and family, giving you additional growth.
We’ve rounded up five companies who have mastered the art of customer service and broken down how you can implement their techniques in your independent pharmacy.
Lego knows that to win over the parents who hold the pocketbook, they have to win over their kids. When a young Lego fan wrote the company an email saying he lost his favorite mini-figure, customer service responded to him with sympathy and sent a replacement mini-figure with advice to keep it from getting lost in the future.
While your main customer base isn’t kids, your pharmacy can still learn a valuable lesson from Lego. Treat kids respectfully, and you will make their parents happy too.
Make your pharmacy fun for kids by creating an activity corner where they can color or play while their parents do their shopping. Stay on top of the latest fads — whether it be fidget spinners or SillyBandz — and stock that merchandise at kids’ eye level instead of high on a counter somewhere.
You can also cater directly to parents by offering products and services that will help them keep their kids healthy. Consider offering a medication flavoring service to make their prescriptions go down like a spoonful of sugar, and keep parents up-to-date on medication safety practices for kids.
When customers of the makeup company Glossier reach out via social media or email, they are put in touch with a member of the “gTeam,” a group that goes above and beyond to provide personalized customer service. Instead of having a generic customer service account, Glossier customers hear from a person writing under their own name and using their personal experiences to give advice and solve problems.
As a small business, you have an advantage when it comes to personalized care but the gTeam can still teach you a few valuable lessons. If you have an email address listed on your website or a comment form patients can submit, be sure to provide prompt and personal answers instead of hitting patients with an auto-reply.
When patients call your pharmacy, they might get hit with an automated menu. Record those menu messages yourself instead of using the default robot voice, and make it easy for patients to press a button and talk to an actual employee instead of getting caught in an endless loop of pressing 1 or 2.
Your patients don’t want to hear a rote, pre-written response when they have problems or questions, so make it easy for them to get an individulized answer.
Costco’s stripped-down shopping experience isn’t for everyone, but the warehouse store consistently attracts praise for its excellent customer service. Just like the store itself, customer service has few frills, but it is straightforward. Customers are greeted with a giant service kiosk as soon as they walk into the store, so they know exactly where to go if they need help. Costco’s employee turnover is also extraordinarily low, so when customers hit them with questions, employees know their stuff because they’ve been there a long time. Costco also has a no-hassle return policy that makes it easy and quick for people to take back their goods and get on with more shopping.
To replicate Costco’s customer service successes, make sure your staff members are visible as they work in the pharmacy. You don’t want patients to have to hunt through each aisle to find help. Keep your employees educated on the products and services the pharmacy offers so they can give patients prompt and informative answers.
In the auto industry, recalls can make customer satisfaction a nightmare. But Toyota has stood out from other auto manufacturers by taking safety seriously and going the extra mile to make sure their customers have a safe driving experience.
In 1990, Toyota got a total of five customer complaints about issues with one of their Lexus models. Even though a recall wasn’t required, they sent dealers out to service all affected cars and left loaner cars so customers wouldn’t be left without a ride. Thirty years later, Toyota still has a reputation for making sure customers have a safe, reliable car to drive.
While you’re dealing with people’s health and safety at the pharmacy, you can learn from Toyota. If you make a mistake, whether it’s a medication error or a simple miscommunication, don’t hesitate to acknowledge it and take steps to make corrections. When patients see you making an honest effort to do the right thing, they will leave with a good impression of you despite the original mistake.
Southwest flight attendants are well-known for the jokes they make over the intercom, and one of the reasons they have such a great sense of humor is they are happy with their jobs. Southwest employees get high-quality benefits that make it a joy to come to work every day, and that happiness spills over to create satisfied customers.
Follow Southwest’s lead by making your pharmacy a great place to work. Here are some ways to do that:
If your staff dreads coming into work, it will be harder for them to put on a happy face with patients. But if they love their work, they will become great promoters for the pharmacy.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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