At a time when proposed funding cuts and changing business models are taking their toll, the ability to retain patients is key to ensuring a successful future for many community pharmacists.
In a report on the future of community pharmacy in the UK, market research company A.T Kearney said “Today’s health consumer wants it all. Whether it is prescription services, personal care products or clinical services, the priority is on expertise, convenience and accessibility”. The simple fact is, if pharmacists fail to meet these expectations then they risk losing customers to those who can deliver. So what’s the solution?
Right systems, relevant services
In a recent blog, we discussed how technology can go some way towards boosting profitability for pharmacies, and the same holds true for maintaining customer loyalty. Having the right IT systems in place can prove extremely helpful in creating the kind of patient-centric approach to business that will deliver on customer expectations.
- Efficiency and reliability
As one of the primary functions of a pharmacy is to dispense prescriptions, a robust PMR system is business-critical. Put simply, any major outage which results in an immediate inability to dispense will be detrimental to customer loyalty. As we discussed recently, if your PMR system is down, but a rival pharmacy’s is up and running, customers can simply walk across the road and place their business in the hands of your competitors. And even once the system is restored, lengthy backlogs can persist, affecting your ability to dispense for days if not weeks, something that is likely to result in further loss of repeat business.
- Offering targeted services
As well as dispensing, PMR systems are important in helping to gain a fuller understanding of customers and their medical history. In doing so, pharmacists can be far better placed to offer additional services for customers. A good example of this is the provision of Medicine Use Reviews (MURs). An effective PMR system will enable pharmacists to create a target list of suitable patients, such as those using statins. Indeed, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society recently endorsed MURs as a great opportunity to allay patients’ fears over the potential side effects of such medication. Chemist & Druggist also ran a feature detailing how MURs have helped to improve symptoms and medication management for patients. It’s exactly this kind of reassurance that will help in boosting customer loyalty.
- Promoting patient-centricity
When used properly, software solutions can help to build up better customer profiles and in turn allow pharmacists to demonstrate a duty of care for patients. A combined PMR and EPoS system, such as Analyst IPS, will enable the recording of OTC medicines on patient PMR records, bringing increased safety as pharmacists are able to accurately check for any potential interactions between medicines and other products.
A robust EPoS system also offers the added benefit of being able to analyse existing sales data to determine which items are best sellers within the local community. From this vital information, pharmacies can ensure they meet the customer demand for specific products; it can also be useful for developing personalised incentives for customers, such as discount vouchers or other sales offers.
Customers are the lifeblood of any pharmacy, but retaining their loyalty is no longer just about supplying medication; it’s about building a truly customer-centric service. Positive Solutions provide a number of products that can help pharmacies deliver the convenience, expertise and quality of service expected by consumers. To find out more visit our homepage or contact us here.