July 1, 2021
Your patients are busy people. They juggle their jobs and their families, and sometimes they struggle to fit in basic errands, like getting to your pharmacy to pick up their prescriptions.
It’s important for you and your store to be available when your patients need you.
It might be time to take a look at your current business hours and decide how well they match up with your patients’ needs.
You might be hesitant to adjust your business hours. After all, it’s hard to balance staffing your pharmacy, your personal life, and staying competitive as a business. But being there for your patients is what’s best for your business.
Although no one expects you to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even a small adjustment in your business hours can be a huge help to your patients.
Here is what you need to think about when extending your business hours and ideas for getting the most out of the time you’re open.
Before changing your business hours, make sure the change will truly help your patients. Pay attention to — and keep track of — when they’re in your store the most. This can guide you as you adjust your hours.
For example, if you often have a rush right before you close, then you might want to stay open later. If you can’t stay open late every night, try extending your hours just one night a week. On the other hand, if you have patients lining up as you open your store, consider opening a little bit earlier. Even just half an hour earlier can really help some patients.
If you aren’t open on weekends and you know that leaves some patients dissatisfied, consider the benefits of opening for limited hours on one or both weekend days.
If there are hours in your store where patients seldom come in, it may be wise to close or scale back staff.
If you’re unsure what your hours should be, talk with your patients when they’re in your pharmacy. Their direct input is the best way to ensure that the changes you’re making are for their benefit.
Your point-of-sale (POS) system is another critical resource for deciding when to keep your store open. By looking at your sales history, you can see patterns about the days and times that your pharmacy is getting the most traffic.
Analyze this data from all different angles. On a day-to-day scale, you can see which days of the week you’re making the most money, which might be a sign to extend your store hours on that day.
You can also look at your data seasonally. If you tend to make big sales throughout the winter holidays, you might decide to extend your hours temporarily throughout the Christmas season so your patients can get the most out of your store.
Don’t just look at your sales numbers when you are analyzing your POS data. A single patient making a big purchase might give you the impression that a day is busier than it actually is. Also look at the number of transactions within a time period, which gives you a more accurate idea of how many people are visiting your store.
The biggest cost you’ll incur by extending your store hours is additional payroll, but your utilities will also most likely increase.
To figure out if opening your store for longer hours is worth the costs, sit down with your profit & loss statement to determine your hourly expenses. You can find that with this formula:
Expenses / Total Hours Open = Hourly Expenses
If you think that you can cover those hourly expenses when you extend your hours, go ahead and keep your pharmacy open a little longer. But if you think you’ll only gain a couple more sales, it may not be worth it.
Make sure your hours are publicized, and that you’re open when you say you will be. It’s not good for business when patients arrive during open hours only to find that you’re closed.
Create a business schedule that’s easy for your patients to follow and remember. Don’t change from week to week, and stick to the hours you’ve set.
And make sure the business hours listed on your website and social media pages are accurate and up-to-date. Your patients will often check these places before coming in. If you have to change your hours at the last minute, be sure to update your social media to let patients know.
If you can’t change your business hours, consider offering services that can help in different ways. A delivery service can help your patients incorporate their pharmacy needs into their regular day, and a drive-thru can make a trip to the pharmacy quick and efficient. Med sync will allow patients to find a single time that works for them each month.
Ultimately, make sure that the changes you implement in your pharmacy will benefit both you and your patients. If you decide to stay open late but no one comes in, then the change isn’t benefiting anyone.
Evaluate each adjustment you make, and don’t be afraid to keep adjusting until you get it right.
Even though you probably can’t be open all hours of the day, you can still be available to your patients after hours with the aid of technology.
Make sure your website answers questions about your pharmacy services, and offer a mobile app so patients can make refill requests and stay up to date on pharmacy news.
You can also use technology like IVR so that patients don’t go straight to voicemail when they call after the pharmacy closes. With IVR, they can refill their prescriptions, check on the status of a refill, or leave a message for the pharmacist.
With the right tech solutions, patients don’t have to wait until the next day to get what they need from the pharmacy.