If you’re looking for effective ways to increase the number of patients at your independent community pharmacy, look to referrals.
When your pharmacy’s current patients refer their friends or family members to your business, it markets your pharmacy for little-to-no cost. It’s word-of-mouth at its best.
Referrals build credibility, attract new patients, and solidify your pharmacy’s reputation as an expert in health care to individuals who may not have known about your pharmacy before.
Here are 10 easy ways to increase patient referrals at your pharmacy.
1. Boost your customer service
Encourage patients to refer your pharmacy to their friends and family by providing stellar customer service—the kind that leaves them excited to tell their loved ones about your business.
Even if you already strive to provide exceptional customer service at your pharmacy, there’s always room to improve. Look for ways you can get just a little bit better, such as by providing employee training or providing a great customer experience.
2. Maintain relationships
Your pharmacy may have many long-term, loyal patients. But just because you know they’re loyal, doesn’t mean you can forget to acknowledge it.
Nurture those existing relationships with your loyal patients, so they continue referring your pharmacy. Simple ways to do this include sending birthday cards, offering special deals for longtime patients, and offering a loyalty rewards program.
3. Encourage referrals with an incentive
Incentivize your current patients to refer a friend or family member by rewarding referrals.
Offer a 10 percent discount for every new patient they get to fill a prescription at your pharmacy. Or, give away freebies if they review your pharmacy on Google or Facebook.
4. Simply ask
When patients are ready to purchase their prescriptions, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a referral. If you’re keeping your patients satisfied, they’ll be more than willing to offer up a referral or write a comment commending your pharmacy’s exceptional service.
5. Make a social media call-to-action
Don’t forget about the importance of your pharmacy’s social media accounts.
Encourage your Facebook and Twitter followers to take action and refer others to your pharmacy by posting call-to-actions, such as “Like us on Facebook,” or “Share this post.”
6. Make it a contest
Get patients to compete by holding a referral contest.
Be sure to set the criteria for the competition, such as everyone who refers five patients to your pharmacy wins a $10 gift card to use in your front end. You could also give away a grand prize to the person who refers the most people, such as a $100 gift card.
7. Encourage online reviews
Encourage your patients to leave online reviews of your pharmacy on your website or on social media sites. When potential patients read positive reviews on your online platforms, they’ll be more likely to step foot in your pharmacy.
8. Thank patients for referrals
Send a thank you note or a small token gift to patients who refer others to your pharmacy. When patients know you personally care about them, they’ll be more likely to write a review in the first place.
And writing a handwritten personal note is just another way to prove your independent community pharmacy’s cares, and goes above and beyond other competing pharmacies.
9. Develop informative content on your social media
Sharing interesting content on your social media, such as health tips, expert advice, or a weekly blog post is a unique way to differentiate your pharmacy, as well as spread awareness about your business.
If current patients see your posts and share them on their own personal social media, their own network of followers will likely view your content and discover the expertise your pharmacy has to offer.
10. Publicly thank loyal patients
Publicly thank your loyal patients by featuring them on your pharmacy’s social media accounts. (With their permission.) Or, designate a “patient of the month” and feature their picture and some information about how long they’ve been with your pharmacy on a bulletin board or on your pharmacy counter.
When your loyal patients feel appreciated, they’ll be more likely to refer your pharmacy.
Don’t lose a referral due to an unhappy patient. Follow this step-by-step guide the next time you encounter a disgruntled patient.
An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that 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.