November 25, 2015
You know you communicate differently with a friend than you do with your accountant, but have you ever noticed how you communicate with your patients?
When friends communicate, they use personal, casual language, and discuss things they’re both interested in, experiencing or have in common. They also send cards or personal notes just to check in or to wish their friend well. Meanwhile, a conversation with an accountant might be filled with technical jargon, and it’s generally a more professional, business-oriented transaction. And, the only things they send you in the mail are reminders about tax season or bills.
It’s important for your pharmacists, pharmacy techs and clerks to find a balance between the two in all of your pharmacy’s communications with patients.
If your pharmacy’s communications are all business, mechanical, and full of jargon or technical terms, you could be sacrificing the personal touch that patients likely come to your pharmacy for. That one-on-one connection with personal communication is a big advantage that your pharmacy has over national chain and big box pharmacies.
Here are five ways you can make your pharmacy’s communications—from in-person conversations to mailers to what you say on social media—more personal.
Use first-person pronouns, including I, we, us, and our, to make your communication feel more conversational and less stilted.
For example, instead of writing an email subject line that says, “Smith Pharmacy announces a sale on oral care products,” consider personalizing the communication by incorporating first-person pronouns. For example, you could change it to read, “We’re offering you a discount on oral care products!”
Be sure to use first-person language throughout your website, social media and newsletters, so your personal, friendly tone stays consistent across all your communications.
Use real pictures of your pharmacy, your staff and your events in your pharmacy’s communications whenever possible.
While professional stock photography can provide high-quality photos in a pinch, photos that show people who your patients recognize, such as yourself or members of your staff, will cultivate a sense of connection.
Plus, real photos can make your website, social media pages, or newsletter feel more personal in comparison to big box pharmacies that only feature stock images of strangers.
Feature testimonials from real patients in your communications.
When a potential patient reads an endorsement on your website from someone who goes to their church, a coworker, or a neighbor, it will create a personal connection, which carries more weight than other, generic recommendations from strangers. Plus, they’ll be more likely to trust the recommendation of someone they know.
Use these testimonials on your advertisements and on your website. Make sure you regularly ask patients to write endorsements or recommendations to keep your reviews fresh and up-to-date.
The person writing social media updates, blog posts or newsletters for big box pharmacies could be hundreds of miles away from the patients who read the content, but you likely live in the same community as most of your patients.
Take advantage of the common sphere you share with patients and reference it in your pharmacy’s communications. For example, you might congratulate a local sports team on a championship victory in your newsletter, or comment on the streak of cold weather in a social media post reminding patients to get a flu shot.
Small mentions of a common experience or of your community remind patients that you’re not only a small business, but you’re their neighbor, too. It’s also a personalized touch that national chain and big box pharmacies can’t match.
Prospective patients want to know why you do what you do.
Include a section on your website or in your newsletter that explains why your pharmacy is in business and how you strive to make a difference. You could also write a blog post that explains why you do what you do, and share it on social media.
Sharing your pharmacy’s mission with patients will help them remember your business. Plus, when patients learn that your goal is to help people live healthier lives, they’ll understand that using your pharmacy doesn’t just mean supporting a small business, but it also means helping you achieve your dreams.
Continue to improve your pharmacy’s communications with patients by creating and distributing an e-newsletter to keep patients up-to-date on what’s happening at your pharmacy in-between visits.