December 8, 2020
Inside: How to change from an industry straggler to a pack leader.
Whether it’s the addition of automation and robotics or thinking outside the box to become an industry innovator, change is essential to the success of your independent community pharmacy.
Remaining stagnant, not keeping up-to-date with current industry trends, or continuing with outdated processes can put your pharmacy business at the bottom of the totem pole.
Inefficient workflow, out-of-date technology, or unproductive marketing can all negatively affect your pharmacy. If your current plan of action isn’t helping you reach your long-term business goals, it may be time to consider an update.
Here are six signs it’s time to make a change to your pharmacy business.
With changing technology, your pharmacy should be getting more efficient over time. If your workflow hasn’t changed in the last ten or fifteen years, chances are, you’ve missed out on plenty of opportunities to make things go more smoothly in your store.
Updating your technological infrastructure can help you serve patients more quickly and save time on administrative tasks. Here are a few ways you can implement modern tech in your pharmacy:
While the upfront cost of purchasing new technology might make you flinch, the efficiency it adds will make up for the price tag in the long run.
If you are constantly hiring new people to fill the same positions, that’s a sign that you need to make a change in your pharmacy. High employee turnover is expensive, so hiring people who stick around for a long time can help you financially. Having a pharmacy full of inexperienced employees also guarantees you won’t be able to put your best foot forward on customer service issues.
But it’s more than that — if your staff members are quitting left and right, that means working at your pharmacy isn’t pleasant. Stop to figure out why that may be.
It could be that the workflow isn’t optimized, making your staff’s workload heavier than it needs to be. Or, it could be you aren’t communicating well, creating confusion on resentment.
There’s also the possibility that you have a toxic work culture. Mediocre staff members who have a bad attitude or consistently fail to meet expectations can drive your best employees to look for other jobs.
Loyal patients are what keep your business alive, and they may take their business elsewhere if they experience a longer wait time than usual, or if they’re treated in a curt or unfriendly manner.
Is your independent community pharmacy going the extra mile to ensure that your patients come first?
If you’ve noticed a slump in business, work to gather feedback from your patients. You can ask them directly when they are in the store or send surveys via email. This should help you diagnose any customer service issues that are cropping up in the pharmacy.
Give your staff members a refresher on friendly customer service, and provide additional education about your products and services. Staff should be easy for patients to get ahold of and have prompt, informative answers to questions.
You can also find other ways to encourage patients to keep coming back, like implementing a loyalty program that rewards repeat purchases.
If you’ve noticed your business’s expenses piling up, it may be time to consider an adjustment.
An increase in expenditures can come from many things, such as an increased cost in employee labor or purchasing your inventory at a high cost of goods.
Some ways you can lower expenses include:
If you’re sending out emails, taking out print ads, and posting on social media, but it’s not doing anything to move the needle on sales or bring new patients in, it’s time to rethink your marketing strategy.
Posting occasionally to Facebook or sending intermittent emails isn’t an acceptable substitute for a marketing plan. To create an effective marketing strategy, you should:
READ NEXT: The Ultimate Guide to Pharmacy Marketing
You should be able to measure the success of your marketing using metrics like return on investment, which measures the sales your marketing campaign brings in for every dollar you spent.
Do you feel as if you’re struggling to keep up? One sure-tell sign of needing to overhaul your business is if your pharmacy doesn’t offer the services or solutions you’re starting to see everywhere in the industry. To beat out your competition, you need to be an early adopter instead of a straggler.
As an independent community pharmacy, you don’t necessarily need to adopt every single new technology. But maybe it’s time to look into offering refills via a pharmacy app or investing in some type of automation. Pay attention to what’s going on in the industry and decide if the latest technologies would meet the needs of your patients and benefit your business.
The same goes for service offerings. Maybe offering a pharmacogenetics service isn’t right for your business yet, but your patients could benefit from an adherence program. Find a niche that needs to be filled in your community in order to stand out from your competitors.
To get ideas to help you stay on the cutting edge, attend conferences or continuing education classes.
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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