Inside: How to make customer surveys for your pharmacy–and why you should.
Customer surveys give you several important insights that help you improve your business. They tell you:
- Who your patients are
- Why they shop at your pharmacy
- Where to make improvements
Knowing who is coming into your pharmacy on a regular basis is critical for deciding how to stock your pharmacy and how to market it.
Survey data can also provide insights on how to make improvements to help you stay competitive. If you experience a drop in profits, asking patients about their experiences at the pharmacy may give you clues to why.
Patients may even give you new ideas you’ve never thought of before. If a patient says they love the personalized attention they get at your pharmacy but they’re considering switching to another that has a CBD line, they are presenting you an opportunity to win them over from a competitor.
What makes a good survey?
To get the most useful data, your survey needs to be clear and concise. Use these rules of thumb to write an effective customer survey.
Create a goal
You can’t find everything about your patients and their motivations and desires in one survey. Have a specific goal in mind, whether that be to pin down demographic information or find out how they feel about a new service.
Write neutral questions
If you want useful answers, don’t ask leading questions. Asking, “How awesome is our pharmacy staff?” will get you positive results, but it will also mean that you’ll miss out on important critical feedback.
Don’t make answers mandatory
The majority of the questions on your survey should be optional. Survey Monkey found that making questions mandatory makes respondents more likely to quit before finishing or select an answer at random, skewing your results.
Create a clear answer scale
Frame answer options so they are clear to respondents while allowing nuanced results. Instead of asking, “How would you rate our pharmacy customer service on a scale of Good, Better, or Best?” ask, “On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not satisfied at all and 5 being very satisfied, how would you rate our pharmacy customer service?”
Keep it brief
Your patients don’t want to spend half an hour filling out a survey. Keep things short and sweet to ensure high response rates. Survey Monkey has found surveys work best when they take less than 7 minutes to complete and include fewer than 30 questions.
Types of customer surveys
These different approaches will help you keep your survey focused.
Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a gold mine for measuring customer loyalty and satisfaction, and you only need to ask patients a single question:
“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this pharmacy to a friend?”
Patients who answer 9 and 10 are your promoters, while those who answer 6 or below are detractors. To find the NPS, use this formula:
% of Promoters – % of Detractors = Net Promoter Score
The higher your score, the more loyal your patients are. It’s a quick, simple way to gauge patient sentiment.
These questions let you get to know who your patients are so you can get a better idea of who is shopping at your pharmacy. In a demographic survey you can ask questions like:
- What is your age?
- What is your gender?
- Where do you live?
- What’s your employment status?
- Are you married?
- Do you have children? If so, what are their ages?
- What is your total household income?
- What is your highest level of educational attainment?
- What is your job?
The basics, like age, gender, and location, can help you make broad generalizations about what kind of care patients might need. More specific details can help you tailor your services even more. If the majority of people say they work in a blue-collar industry, you might decide to focus on establishing a workers’ compensation program. If a large chunk of respondents has small children, it could be a sign to expand your toy selection.
Products and services
These questions are about how patients interact with the products and services your pharmacy has to offer. They can give you insight into what’s working, what’s not working, and what you can do to make improvements.
Example questions include:
- How often do you use pharmacy services?
- What’s your favorite product or service?
- Have you considered using alternative products or services?
- Are there any challenges to using the product or service?
- How do our products and services help you achieve health goals?
- What do you think would improve the product or service?
State of mind
These are survey questions that help you get inside your patients’ heads. They may not be specifically about pharmacy products and services, but they will give you insight into patients’ habits and preferences.
The answers to these questions may not give you explicit insights about how your pharmacy can improve, but they will clue you in to what is at the top of people’s minds and indicate upcoming trends or hurdles.
Example questions include:
- Do you prefer shopping in person or online?
- What makes you download a retailer’s app?
- How often do you have products delivered?
- What’s most important to you when you visit a pharmacy?
- How much time do you spend researching pharmacy services? Where do you go to look for information?
How to conduct a customer survey
The easiest way to collect survey data is through an online platform. Services like Survey Monkey and Google Forms allow you to keep all the survey answers in one date so it’s easier to pick apart the data.
Hubspot recommends emailing people with a request to fill out a survey as soon as possible after they’ve had an experience at the pharmacy. When you ask right away, your pharmacy is still fresh in the patient’s mind and they can give you better answers.
Asking early also allows you to rectify any issues quickly. If you wait too long to ask for feedback, you won’t be able to repair a bad experience.
For patients who may not have an email address, you can also collect feedback inside the store. Invite patients to fill out answers on a tablet located near the exit, and offer them a small incentive to stop and spend a few minutes answering questions.
Outsourcing customer surveys
With plenty of resources for putting together a questionnaire, customer surveys are generally easy to perform in-house. But there are some benefits to reaching out to a marketing professional for help.
A marketer will know the questions to ask to get the most useful responses. They’ll also be able to avoid accidentally writing questions that will create biased answers because they have more distance from the business.
A professional will have more experience drawing conclusions from the data using statistical analysis, and they will be able to come up with action items for your pharmacy based on the results.
A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.