As an independent pharmacist, your main job is to provide stellar service and patient care to your customers and patients. That's what your customers expect, too. Here are six things that are expected:
1) Faster prescription fill times
You'll certainly keep your customers happier if your pharmacy shelving holds a selection of popular merchandise to choose from in your front end so that they can shop while they wait for their prescriptions. That said, it's worth your while to do as much as you can to give your customers faster prescription fill times.
If they're not as fast as they should be, take a look at your workflow inefficiencies. Update protocols and procedures and invest in robotics and IVR technology to streamline procedures. Finally, don't forget to observe the HIPAA privacy regulations that went into effect in 2013 as you implement these updates.
2) Trust and accuracy
It's true. Your patients want faster prescription fill times – and must absolutely trust at the same time that your prescription fills will be accurate. Fortunately, technology like robotics and implementation of strict protocols that observe privacy regulations mean patients can have everything they deserve, even as your job becomes less labor-intensive in this regard.
3) Longer operating hours
Expand operating hours as much as you can so that your customers can stop in after work or on the weekends to get what they need. If they can't, they'll just go elsewhere. What is your retail pharmacy and other area competition doing? Are they staying open until 9:00 p.m. on weeknights? Offering extended weekend hours? Match or exceed their hours.
4) A well-stocked front end
Well-stocked pharmacy shelving in your front end is a major revenue driver. Customers like one-stop shopping – especially in this age of Internet retail – so whenever you can offer customers the ability to buy other things they want or need when they pick up prescriptions, do it. Your front-end should include high-volume items like cold and flu medications, seasonal items like Halloween candy, personal hygiene items like soap, toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo, and impulse buy items like magazines, gum, individual candy bars, and travel-sized versions of personal hygiene items.
5) A welcoming atmosphere
Your store's overall decor should be warm and welcoming. Opt for soft, full-spectrum lighting in favor of glaring, old-fashioned fluorescent overhead lights, and bring the outdoors in with non-flowering green plants that are hypoallergenic. Cover floors with carpeting, wood, and faux wood instead of tile, and use soft pastels accented with bright colors on the walls and in signage.
Above all, treat customers as though they are your number one priority, because they are. Train staff to greet customers as they come in and offer to help if needed.
6) Customer service perks
You are in a position to serve your customers and patients in a way no ordinary "retailer" can. You know their histories and have developed personal relationships with them. Do everything you can to offer the best customer service you can, including unique perks like prescription home delivery; it will set you apart from your competitors because you're providing a service that is invaluable to people who don't feel well and would rather not go out.
You have a unique ability as an independent pharmacist to take care of your customers with a level of personal service that no retail pharmacy can hope to match. It's about having your pharmacy shelving well-stocked with whatever your customers need – but a lot more, too. Take care of your customers, and they'll honor you with their business instead of going elsewhere.