Reimbursements are declining and competition is tough; in other words, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remain competitive as an independent pharmacy owner.
While reading up on cardiovascular disease and running a diabetic-footwear promotion won’t hurt, they’re not at the top of your list. You’re looking for solutions and ideas you can act on that will set your pharmacy up for success.We’ve compiled a list of ways you can improve your bottom line while staying focused on the patient.
1. Provide exceptional customer service
Since big-box/chain pharmacies struggle to provide personalized care and personal touch, you can win in the realm of customer service. The best way to provide exceptional service is to treat patients in the same manner you would treat family or friends. In fact, a recent study found that 100% of patients prefer to be treated like a human being instead of a number (just kidding, sort of).
Put on a smile, strike up a conversation and create a great experience for your patients. In addition to telling their family and friends, patients will leave positive reviews on Facebook, Google and a variety of other digital storefronts.
2. Open telepharmacy sites
If keeping operating costs low can help your pharmacies flourish, TelePharm is your prescription for success. Our easy-to-use full-service software platform enables you to expand pharmacy services in a cost-effective manner. Opening remote-dispensing sites, or telepharmacies, in convenient locations helps improve patient satisfaction and overall health outcomes. Want to learn more? Download our FREE eBook: A beginner's guide to remote dispensing in retail pharmacy.
3. Specialized services
Big-chain pharmacies are setup to be machines — machines that deliver the same result over and over again. By offering specialized services, you’re providing unique value to your patients which is something chain stores struggle with. If your pharmacy is located in an industrial area, focus on treating asthma and providing services that help people with breathing issues. If you live in a community with a large aging population, shift your efforts to focus on geriatric care. This simple yet effective strategy is one every pharmacy should employ.
4. Connect with your customers
Your witty tagline can be a great marketing tool, but staying connected with customers via digital is essential nowadays.
Are you offering free diabetes education and weekly blood-pressure screenings? Have patients sign up (with email addresses) in-store and promote future offerings via email marketing. There are plenty of inexpensive tools that can help coordinate your email efforts and guide you along the way — even if you're not an email marketing expert!
Quick statistic: more than 68% of pharmacists reported a feeling that social media use had a definite positive impact on their business, according to an RxWiki survey.
Social media is your digital storefront and you should treat it as such! Make sure everything looks nice and clean, use quality pictures and share relevant information with your fans and followers. Read an article debunking the top 4 telepharmacy concerns? Share it! Social networks are a great way to advertise in-store promotions—just make sure you’re offering sales information alongside valuable, educational content. Give your customers a reason to “like” you!
5. The 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle)
To be competitive, you need to be profitable. To be profitable, you need to optimize your strategy in regards to your most valuable customers. If 20% of your activities contribute to 80% of your business, spend more time maximizing and extracting what you can from that 20%. In other words, focus on what works.
Walt Disney said, “Whatever you do, do it well.” I don’t know if he had the pareto principle in mind, but he sure was on to something.
Hopefully you've got a few actionable ideas circulating in your head. What are you planning to do to make your independent pharmacy more competitive? Leave a comment below.