3 Critical Areas that Define Success for Every Business Unit in Your Pharmacy
By: Andrew Fisher
Part of the ORCHIDopinion Series
Pharmacies are really interesting ecosystems. From the outside it appears to be a single business, but when you look closer you see the differences (sometimes subtle, sometimes not) between different programs or business units inside of the pharmacy. Each one has its own needs, nuances, and potential. Because of this, you cannot take a generic approach to managing these different business units; rather, each one needs to be analyzed and managed individually. There will be common needs, though, and following are three absolutely critical areas of each business unit for which you need to have a plan. If you optimize these areas your success will skyrocket.
1. Marketing and Promotion
This area deals with your connection to your prospective customers. You need to answer the basic questions about marketing to make sure the way you are positioning your offer is appealing to them. You can have the best program in the world to address the needs of your customers, but if you don’t make it easy for them to understand what you are offering – or if you don’t offer it to them at the appropriate time – you aren’t setting yourself up for success. For example, if you identify a prescription vitamin or supplement that would be a great adjunct to a patient’s therapy, but you do not discuss it with the patient while they are at the pharmacy, you are missing an opportunity. That doesn’t mean you can’t put some information into their bag with their medication and not have a positive result, but it does mean you aren’t giving yourself the best chance for success. Think about what you are offering, who the prospective customers are, and the ideal place to have an interaction with them regarding your solution to their problem, and then make your offerings clean, clear, and professional.
2. The Ordering Process
Once again you can have a great program that clearly addresses the needs of your customers, but if you make it difficult for them to work with you then you will have less success. Think about it from your customer’s point of view and try to create an ordering process that is quick, efficient, and customer-centric. If you have a good offering that people need, and you make it easy for them to buy from you or refer patients to you, then you will have much greater success.
3. Instructions for Use
The old saying goes that it costs 10 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. In healthcare it is not always possible to keep existing customers, depending on what part of the treatment process you are participating in, because we don’t want patients to buy products or medications that they do not need. In many cases, though, the care plan for the patient requires medium- or long-term usage, and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help prevent them from abandoning their medication. Their understanding of the what, why, and how of their medication can make a big difference in that area, so make sure you are thinking about your patient when you put together your plan for helping them understand how to use the product or service you are providing to them. Assume they don’t have anywhere near the level of knowledge that you do, and that the product or service is going to be something they know nothing about. If you make an investment into helping patients better understand how to use the product or service you are providing, you will retain more customers.
Remember, it doesn’t matter whether we are talking about your front-end, convenience packaging, specialty, quasi-specialty, traditional retail or any other business units in your pharmacy. If you pay attention to how you are going to market the business unit, how your prospective customers order from you, and your customer’s experience when they receive their purchase and invest in improving these areas you will be more successful. ORCHID works with pharmacies to build quasi-specialty programs that allow independent, community pharmacies to work more closely with providers in their communities. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can attract more patients and increase your pharmacy’s profits by offering services for which providers are looking, please get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you!