FPP Blog: Issue 46: Changing the focus from Dispensing

Blog Post

Date: 5 July 2018

Pharmacy needs to change the focus from dispensing to becoming indispensable.

I was in a community pharmacy recently at a busy time of day when I heard the stressed looking pharmacy assistant say, “Next please.”  She didn’t look up and make eye contact with the waiting customers.

I cringed.

What is wrong with that?

One one level, nothing much I suppose. It’s not rude but it’s also not much different to anyone else.  If your frontline staff are going to be like that, you might as well hang a sign out the front saying, ‘Come shop with us – We’re no worse than anyone else’.

So what would make you different, what would make you stand out?

  • Over-the-top promotions with massive price discounts? – As you know, you’re never going to compete with major discounters so let’s pass on that one.
  • WOWing the customer with superlative service? – Hard to keep that up every minute of every day, isn’t it?

But there is something far more important that you can do. You can make your customers feel better about themselves for having chosen to do business with you. And that is the magic ingredient.

It involves engaging with your customers and leverage the trust that they have in pharmacy. It means preparing for this by being clear about your intention every time with every customer. And this intention needs to be to make each customer feel better about themselves for having chosen to come to your pharmacy.

It’s about treating each customer as an individual not just in what you recommend for their ailment or condition but also in how you communicate with them. “Next please” just doesn’t cut it.

This means having regular discussions with your staff about how to engage in conversations with customers; how to relate to people of different ages, socio-economic groups and ethnic groups.

Many people in retail, and pharmacy is no exception, are at their best when responding to customer questions but are far less confident when engaging customers in conversation about the condition that has resulted in them asking for a certain product.

We’ve got to become as focussed on our customers as people as we are about dispensing the right products, then we will become and remain their preferred destination for their healthcare and lifestyle needs.

Written by Jurek Leon, Director, Terrific Trading

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information and/or advice contained in these pages are free from error and/or omission. You should seek your own advice prior to acting on any information contained within these pages. No responsibility can be accepted by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia or its employees involved in the preparation of these pages for any claim which may arise from a person acting on information and/or advice contained herein.

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Contact: Andria Aird
Phone: 08 9429 4100

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Page last updated 05 July 2018