September 5, 2019
Inside: In part 2 of our series on managing multiple pharmacies, learn how to ensure every pharmacy and patient experiences the same success.
If one of your pharmacy locations is floundering, it doesn’t matter if the others are performing better than ever. That struggling location can bring you down, damaging both your reputation in the community and your finances overall.
That’s why it’s so important to work towards consistency for all your locations—it’s better to have all your pharmacies performing well than have one that’s outstanding and one barely staying afloat.
To produce consistent results, you have to ensure that all of your pharmacy locations are playing on the same field.
When a patient has a bad experience at one of your pharmacy locations, it will probably ruin their impression of all the other locations, too. Consistency means patients are having a good experience every time they come into the pharmacy, at every pharmacy location, which then translates to regular business.
Consider these factors to make your pharmacies into steady, reliable healthcare destinations.
For each location to perform consistently, you need to make sure that they all have everything they need to succeed.
If one location has been up and running for 10 years, and a second location has opened in the past 6 months, it’s natural to pour time, attention, and money into that newer location as you try to get it off the ground. But while you’re diverting resources to the new location, the old one could be suffering.
Whether they are old are new, each of your pharmacy locations needs to have the right resources. This could mean enough money, staff, vendor support, or simply attention.
Make sure each pharmacy has a manager you trust. They will be invested in one store’s success and understand exactly what that store needs. You’ll be able to focus on the big picture while they will be able to identify where the store could benefit from additional resources.
To ensure consistent performance across stores, you need to implement the same workflow across locations and establish standard operating procedures.
Although part of your workflow should be tailored to the unique aspects of each location, such as space constraints and prescription volume, it should mostly look identical from location to location. That not only ensures you’re getting prescriptions prepared with the same efficiency and reduces errors, but it also allows you to distribute staff across locations as necessary without disrupting the pharmacy’s performance.
Your pharmacy staff needs to provide the same level of service no matter which location they work at.
This can be difficult because as your team grows across multiple locations, they won’t have the same sense of cohesive teamwork as they did when your pharmacy only had a single location.
It’s up to you to set a consistent standard. Create an employee handbook as your first line of defense. It should include information about:
A handbook allows for employees to start from the same baseline and prepares them to consistently provide great customer service to patients. The employee handbook also works as a useful reference when you need to nudge an employee in the right direction.
You can also encourage teams in each of your locations to do their best by fostering some friendly competition. By setting goals for each location, your teams push each other up to do the best work possible.
Whether patients are walking into your first location or your fifth, the pharmacy should feel familiar. That’s why it’s so important to have a unified brand.
Having the same fonts, colors, and logo at each pharmacy will help patients recognize the pharmacy.
If space allows, having a similar layout in each location can make new spaces easier to navigate for your loyal patients.
This ease of navigation is also important when it comes to presenting your pharmacies online. Having multiple locations with the same name can introduce difficulties when it comes to search engines, so you have to take extra steps to make sure that your SEO is top-notch. Otherwise, patients might get routed to the location that comes up first on Google, while the other locations get no traffic at all.
Claim each location on Google so information pops up based on where patients search from.
Another important step is creating separate web URLs for each of your locations. The content for each site should be filled with a keyword phrase that includes the location.
When measuring how well each location is performing, you’ll turn to standard metrics like prescriptions filled per day and turnover. But in order to judge if each location is thriving compared to other locations, there are more measurements for you to consider.
Use these metrics to make sure each of your pharmacy locations is pulling its weight.
Calculating this metric for each of your pharmacy locations is the best way to measure growth—and in turn, identify which location might be struggling so you can give it a little bit of extra attention.
Same-store sales provide a historical look at how well a store is performing. To find your same-store sales rate for a single location in 2018, use this formula:
Same-Store Sales 2018 = [(2018 Net Sales ÷ 2017 Net Sales) – 1] x 100
The result is a percentage point value that shows how sales at each location grew or declined.
Hopefully, sales at all of your locations are growing, but the same-store sales rate is a great way to determine if one store location is lagging behind the others. If that’s the case, it’s a signal to take a closer look at that location to find the cause.
You can calculate this metric for any time period—month-over-month, quarter-over-quarter, or year-over-year—but this measurement is best used for store locations that have been in business longer than a year.
Sales Per Labor Hour
To dig into an even more granular metric than same-store sales, you can also calculate sales per labor hour for each of your locations. This measurement tells you how much you make for every hour you pay employees. To calculate sales per hour, use this formula:
Sales Per Labor Hour = Sales ÷ Total Labor Hours Worked
Generally, this is measured over a short period of time—one week or one pay period.
This performance metric is all about efficiency—the higher your sales per labor hour, the larger your return on investment.
If your sales per labor hour at one store is significantly lower than at your other pharmacy locations, it could indicate a couple of things.
The first is that your pharmacy staff could use some tools to help boost their productivity. Make sure to clearly reiterate workplace goals, create clear incentives for when those goals are accomplished, and list work that needs to be done in terms of priority.
However, your staff might already be as productive as they can be with the amount of traffic the store is getting. In that case, you’ll have to take a hard look at your scheduling for that location. Reducing the number of people working, especially at non-peak times, will help to raise your sales per labor hour.
Your patients’ satisfaction with the service they receive at the pharmacy is key to a locations’ success.
But it can be hard to gauge patient enthusiasm as a whole based on individual interactions. Instead of going with your gut, turn to hard data to see how each location is perceived by patients.
Net Promoter Score
Finding out a pharmacy location’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) involves asking your patients a single question, usually via an email survey. That question: “How likely are you to recommend this pharmacy location to friends and family on a scale of 0 to 10?”
Patients who rate the question with a 6 or below might have had a bad experience at the pharmacy and might actively discourage others from visiting. They are considered “detractors.”
Those who rate the question with a 9 or 10 are your “promoters”—they probably come into the pharmacy regularly and will rave about you to everyone they know.
Use your promoters and detractors to find your Net Promoter Score:
Net Promoter Score = Percentage of “Promoters” – Percentage of “Detractors”
Your result will land somewhere on a scale of -100 to 100. According to Hubspot, the average NPS for pharmacies is 28, while an excellent NPS is 50.
If one of your pharmacy locations has a score of 45 while another has a 12, the lower-rated location might need a brush-up on how to provide excellent customer service.
Customer Satisfaction Score
Like the NPS, measuring your Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) means that you’ll have to ask patients to rate their experience at a pharmacy location on a numbered scale. Unlike the NPS, the CSAT isn’t limited to just one question, which makes it easy to get a more wholesome view of patients’ thinking.
You don’t want to put too many questions on your CSAT survey—the longer it is, the less likely patients will be to complete it. A few questions you might consider asking are:
Also consider including questions about specific products or services the pharmacy provides.
CSAT surveys are a great way to pinpoint the strong points and weaknesses of each individual pharmacy location.
This blog series is all about the unique aspects of managing more than one pharmacy location. Follow along as we discuss how to improve efficiency, productivity, and profit across multiple pharmacies.
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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