Creating a welcoming, friendly, comfortable customer environment is perhaps the most important facet in running a successful community pharmacy. As owner or manager, you have the ability to provide your customers with what no large, chain-store pharmacy can match – personalized service to every individual entering your establishment. With a well-thought-out and properly implemented pharmacy workflow, built around providing the most excellent customer service and superior shopping experience possible, you can attract new customers into your store, retain the loyal customer base you've developed and generate an ever-expanding supply of referral clients. The secret is sterling service at every step.
Great Service Sells
Your entire pharmacy workflow system, both in the front-end merchandising section and the back-end prescription filling area, should be geared toward one end – customer satisfaction. It's all about service. Here are some things to consider:
- Start with a written customer service policy that's clear, simple and easily understood by all staff members. Everyone should know that customer service is job #1 and all staff/client interactions should be consistent from one employee to the next, with everyone understanding his/her responsibility to provide excellence in the most important area of customer service. Employees should feel a sense of pride regarding your company's level of personalized customer service given to each and every client and be encouraged to feel satisfaction when helping others.
- Make sure all visitors are greeted with a sincere smile and that your customers understand that you value them, that you're happy to see them and that you appreciate their business. Treat them with respect and caring. Call your regular customers by name and, if you don't know someone's name, make it a point to find out.
- Keep your store clean, tidy and a pleasant place with a calming environment. Use of colors, lighting, décor and displays should be visually pleasing and not harsh or sterile-looking.
Back-End Pharmacy Workflow
The back end of the pharmacy is where most people will be heading upon entry into your store in order to drop off or pick up prescriptions. Your back-end pharmacy workflow should be fined tuned to the degree that waiting patients are confident that you'll be handling their prescription orders with efficiency and accuracy and you should have a comfortable waiting area for them to be seated if they choose and perhaps a coffee bar or other type of refreshment area. While it's important to have prescriptions ready in a timely manner, the area in proximity to the prescription counter should have some interesting, engaging displays for patients to view while waiting. There should be a separate area set aside for patients to be counseled privately about their medical conditions/medications without fear that other customers will overhear any personal information.
Front-End Pharmacy Workflow
Staff members working the front end of your store are there to assist customers in finding what they want or need and also to recommend complementary items. This part of the store should be easily accessible, especially to those with walkers, wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Listen to what your clients have to say and let them know you value their opinions. Always thank them for their patronage and let them know you're looking forward to seeing them again.
Pharmacy customers usually have lots of options as to where they shop and you want to give them good reasons to exercise the option of shopping with you. Do what you do better than your competition does it. You'll not only retain your list of loyal customers but they'll be sure to send their friends and family to your store as well.