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Here’s What Every Patient Wants in a Pharmacy

Best of September 2018: Articles for Independent Pharmacy by Elements magazine | pbahealth.com


September 10, 2018


Inside: Learn what a national pharmacy satisfaction survey reveals about what every patient wants most—and how your pharmacy can provide it.

What if you could look into the mind of your patients?

How would that help you better meet their needs and improve their outcomes?

And improve your business?

Fortunately, you can. Every year J.D. Power asks thousands of pharmacy patients about their satisfaction with pharmacy. The 2018 study, which surveyed 10,749 pharmacy customers, gives you a free look into patients’ minds and motivations.

According to J.D. Power, “One of the most effective and economical ways to optimize marketing practices and maximize pharmacy profits is to provide service experiences that exceed customers’ expectations … This study provides a framework to help pharmacies define where and how customer service experiences are working best and where there is room for improvement.”

Knowing what drives patient satisfaction helps you shape your pharmacy business to give patients what they want—so they’ll come to your business and stay with your business.

We’ll look at the top three results from the satisfaction survey, what they mean for your pharmacy, and how you can use the information to boost your business.

3 Things All Patients Want in Their Pharmacy

The J.D. Power survey revealed three major drivers of customer satisfaction:

1. Availability of health and wellness services
2. Being greeted by non-pharmacist staff in a friendly manner
3. Timeliness of delivery

The results stray from last year’s study, which focused primarily on high costs of medications.

This year, the most important drivers don’t include anything related to medications or costs. Instead, the study reveals growing interest in holistic health and in patient-centered service.

How can your pharmacy adapt to meet these three key drivers of patient satisfaction?

1. Health and wellness

As the most important driver of patient satisfaction, health and wellness services should become a priority for your pharmacy.

Health and wellness services reverse the traditional approach to pharmacy care. It used to be that pharmacies would react to health issues by only dispensing remedies. But now, patients demand more (and so does the profit-pinching industry). Instead, pharmacies provide a far broader range of proactive services aimed at preventing illness and ailments.

This relatively recent addition to pharmacy’s repertoire helps diversify offerings to make your pharmacy more durable and less dependent on prescription medications.

So, how can you make your pharmacy a health and wellness destination?

Offer immunizations
Patients have come to prefer getting immunizations from the pharmacy rather than the physician’s office. Easily accessible and appointment-free, the pharmacy provides unmatched convenience to patients.

Immunizations are critical for preventing health problems, from the most common ailments like the flu to rarer and more serious diseases like meningitis. They’re a cornerstone in health and wellness services for your patients.

Make your pharmacy a vaccination destination.

Celebrate health awareness days
More than 70 calendar days promote some form of health and wellness awareness.

Whether it’s American Heart Month or American Diabetes month, use those days to promote your services and to remind patients about the importance of the topic for their health.

For example, during American Heart Month offer free blood pressure screenings and heart-healthy supplements.

Provide health screenings
Catching potential problems before they become actual problems requires screening and monitoring patients’ health.

Screenings enable early interventions, especially at independent pharmacies which patients visit more often than physician’s offices.

Health screenings can include:

 

Other health and wellness services include:

 

2. Friendly greetings

The second overall driver of patient satisfaction should be music to independent pharmacy’s ears.

Forever you’ve been offering superior customer service to patients. Because you believe it’s important. And now there’s hard data to validate what you’ve been doing for decades.

This is perhaps the easiest patient preference to meet. It’s the sweet spot where patients’ highest demand requires your pharmacy’s simplest solution.

However, ensuring your staff provides friendly and helpful services does require work.

In particular, three factors determine the degree of friendly pharmacy service:

  1. Training: Make sure your employees know how to answer questions, help patients navigate your pharmacy, practice positive body language, and handle difficult conversations.
  2. Hiring: Friendly personalities can’t be created; they must be curated. Look beyond the resume and hire employees with the right raw materials, such as interpersonal skills and a friendly personality.
  3. Managing: Accountability matters. Although pharmacy managers should delegate and hire trustworthy employees, you still need to make sure employees don’t become complacent. Regularly monitor your employees’ interaction with patients and intervene when necessary.

 

3. Delivering on time

Hopefully you’re one of the 72 percent of independent pharmacies that offer delivery services.

(If not, discover why you can’t afford to neglect delivery service at your pharmacy.)

Although delivery service has become essential for patient satisfaction, done the wrong way it can harm your business more than it helps.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep
The study showed that patients care about receiving their delivery when it’s promised.

But how can you be sure to fulfill your promises?

Before you can promise your patients a certain arrival time, you must understand your delivery capabilities. Your resources limit how many deliveries you can make and how quickly you can get there. Make sure have a good grip on your delivery capabilities and make your promises accordingly.

 (If you’re in a jam, you can always hire a third party like Deliv Rx to make sure you deliver on your promise.)

Deliver same-day if possible
Except for recurring medications for chronic conditions, patients typically need their prescriptions filled the day they receive them. If your pharmacy can’t deliver their medication the day they order it, many patients will find a pharmacy that will.

Same-day delivery will also set you apart from national chains like CVS, which only offers same-day delivery for a steep price.

Build the right infrastructure
Take time to create a foolproof business plan for your delivery services. That requires forecasting demand, hiring enough drivers, and implementing effective workflow. With a reliable infrastructure, you’ll offer reliable delivery.

 

Now that you know what drives patient satisfaction, you can take the wheel.


 

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