This valuable insight is from guest contributor Dr. Lisa Faast, CEO of DiversifyRx. Both Capsa and DiversifyRx share a common goal of helping pharmacies succeed, so enjoy Dr. Faast’s recommendations!
Pharmacies have a unique opportunity to form relationships with their customers and patients that can last for years. However, many pharmacies lose these valuable customers by not employing the right retention strategies. In this blog, we will discuss 7 tips to help pharmacy management and owners improve patient retention.
1. Develop a rapport with your customers.
Get to know your customers on a personal level and let them get to know you. This way, they love coming to your pharmacy and can’t imagine going anywhere else.
Ensure your front-end staff makes a point to learn your patients’ names and something about them. Keep a calendar or notebook in the cashier area so employees can document tidbits they learn about your patients. Knowing this information allows them to have personal, relevant conversations. This personal touch will go a long way in making your pharmacy their preferred choice.
2. Make customers feel valued.
Treat each patient like they are your only customer of the day. No matter how hectic your day is, your customers shouldn’t be negatively impacted as their first impression.
Tell them thank you, often. Thanking customers can seem repetitive to your employees, but that is not the way your customers see it. Your patients want to know you value them as a customer. You can get creative with a Thank You Card program or hold customer appreciation days/events.
Customers feel valued when you ask for their feedback. Actively encouraging customers to provide feedback, both positive and negative, shows that you are looking to improve the customer experience.
3. Solve their unknown problems.
Surprise-and-delight is a popular business strategy to increase customer retention. As a pharmacy, you can seemingly predict the future. Your uncanny ability to understand your patients’ needs will surely keep them coming back. How are you predicting the future? With your knowledge of medications and conditions and the side effects they cause.
If a patient is picking up an antibiotic, you know stomach issues are around the corner. Or if a parent is getting medication for a child’s virus, you know a fever is coming up. Offer patients solutions to these problems before they even realize it is a problem. Talk to them about the downsides of the medication or their condition and offer a solution. Even if they don’t buy from you this time, they will know that you took the time to educate them and they will be more likely to buy from you the next time.
4. Create a loyalty program.
Offer loyalty programs that give customers rewards for their continued business. Loyalty programs are a great way to keep patients coming back, as it makes a patient feel like they get something for nothing. I have used the loyalty program from Repeat Rewards in my pharmacies. You can set up the rules for point accumulation and redeeming qualifications. (Check out Axe Rx’s loyalty program).
You don’t need fancy software or systems. Special discount days are always welcomed by patients. At my original pharmacy, we also did seasonal events. We had very hot summers so we kept free bottles of water outside of the pharmacy with quirky signs to let patients know we care about them. We also gave out free balloons to kids. We had a helium tank onsite and always had balloons ready to go when a little patient came in. Those kids became very loyal!
5. Offer unique products and services.
You cannot compete with Walmart or Amazon. In fact, you are in a completely different business than they are and you want to and need to be different. Your success doesn’t hinge on how many band-aids you sell; your success depends on offering products and services your community wants.
It helps to offer products and services you are passionate about. If diabetes doesn’t get you excited then don’t do it! However, if adrenal fatigue is your jam, then shout from the rooftops and create a program to boost your patients’ energy with your knowledge.
Create A Bundle
You can turn a product (such as a supplement) into something unique by layering on services and additional products. Instead of just selling a weight loss supplement, offer a complete package. You could easily add on:
- Weekly group Zoom calls
- Monthly measurement tracking
- Local eating out guide
- Discount on Rx’s for weight loss
- Pairing with an accountability partner
When you bundle your supplement(s) with these services, now you have a unique combination that is ONLY provided by you. This uniqueness allows you to charge more than you would for just the supplement and helps your patients be more successful too.
6. Make it easy to do business with your pharmacy.
This might mean you offer a delivery service or a phone app for refills. A great way to find out what convenience factors your patients want is to ask them. Surveys can be a great tool to determine if they want you to close at 6:30pm instead of 6pm.
A place where many pharmacies neglect is updating their website. I understand that you are a busy pharmacy owner or manager, not a digital marketing specialist. But when was the last time you looked at your website with fresh eyes? An updated website helps keep patients coming back.
- Are your phone number and hours prominently displayed?
- Can patients submit refills online at any time?
- Are your most popular supplements available for purchase online?
- Can someone fill out new patient forms online?
- Is all information current?
7. Keep your promises.
If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you follow through. This goes for both big and small things. For example, if you tell a customer you will check to see if you can order a certain OTC, make sure the employee checks and calls the customer back. Or if you say you will give a patient a call when their prescription is ready, make sure you do it.
Consistency creates loyalty. I learned this early in my pharmacy ownership career. Consumers crave predictability.
To contact DiversifyRx: firstname.lastname@example.org
More ideas from Dr. Faast to strengthen your pharmacy: https://diversifyrx.com/blog/