April 18, 2019
Inside: Small gestures of appreciation have big effects on patients. Try these seven ways to make new patients feel at home at your pharmacy.
In today’s hyper competitive pharmacy market, every new patient you gain is cause for celebration. And an opportunity for a long-term relationship.
To start the relationship on the right foot, give your new patients a warm welcome. Paying special attention to your newest customers helps you differentiate yourself from big box stores and chain pharmacies right off the bat.
Businesses of all types are trying to cash into personalized communications. In one study, 93 percent of companies with robust personalization strategies increased their revenue.
With a wealth of communication options out there, welcome messages take a variety of forms, from post cards to text messages. Here are seven ways to welcome new patients to your pharmacy.
If recruiting new patients is a major focus for your pharmacy right now, consider spending a little more time and money on a truly memorably welcome. When patients fill their first prescription, stuff the bag with a thank you note and coupons. Include a few small gifts with your pharmacy’s logo, such as:
Consider adding some useful health or safety resources to help you position yourself as a trusted advisor. These can be brochures, pamphlets, articles, or flyers—your own creations or content you license from a third party. Here are some ideas:
People love to get mail, especially when it’s something other than bills. Sending new patients a welcome postcard shows you value your patients’ business. And since postcards don’t require an envelope, there’s one less barrier between your message and the recipient.
Use the postcard to let new patients know about services they might not realize your pharmacy offers, such as immunizations, diabetes counseling, or free delivery.
Experts at Vertical Response have some basic advice for crafting an effective welcome email:
Of course, greeting your new patients with an email requires you to actually gather their email address. Learn the top strategies to collect more patient email addresses.
Nothing shows you care quite like a handwritten note. Spend some time getting to know the patient when they fill their prescription, then you can make the note personal. Send it in the mail within the next five days.
The obvious downside to this approach is that it can be time consuming. One solution is to delegate some of the notes to your staff. If you’re adding new patients at a rapid pace lately, a handwritten note may be a bigger time commitment than you can handle.
A special reward offer is a great way to keep new patients coming back to your pharmacy. Hand them a coupon good for 15 percent off your front end, for example, when they fill their first prescription.
A survey conducted by RetailMeNot found that 96 percent of Americans use coupons when they shop, and 80 percent of shoppers feel smarter when they use coupons. Coupons and discounts are incredibly versatile. You can include them in a full-on welcome kit, an email, or even a postcard.
A phone call is a high-touch approach to welcoming patients, and not everyone will appreciate it. Focus on patients who are most likely to need or want additional contact with the pharmacist, such as people who’ve recently been released from the hospital. Research shows that follow-up calls from pharmacists can reduce the risk for rehospitalization.
On the call, tell patients you appreciate their business and that you hope they continue to use your pharmacy. Ask if they have any questions about your pharmacy. If your pharmacy is doing a special promotion like offering flu shots, hosting health education classes, or participating in a community event, that would also be a great time to let your new patients know about it.
Text messages are a surefire way to reach patients. Ninety-seven percent of Americans texted at least once per day in 2015. And that’s all Americans, not just young people.
You can use the ubiquity of texting to your advantage. When patients fill their first prescription, ask them to sign up for text message updates. A study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that text message reminders reduced the time it took for patients to pick up their prescriptions by twelve hours.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is an independently owned pharmacy services organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own VAWD-certified 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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