3 Ways to Help your Pharmacy Adapt to the Digital Age 

Live in the moment. Engage. Connect.  These are just a few buzz words you’ll see in most any customer service self-help book. Seems like good advice.  Live in the moment.  It’s what toddlers do.  And what wouldn’t we give to return to a place in our lives where everything was brand new?  Where the birthday gift wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the wrapping that it came in.  But as adults, it’s hard for us to do that. Just like when some adult pulls the toddlers attention away from shiny wrapping paper or the box a toy came in to try and get them to engage with the toy itself. We have dozens of things pulling at our attention in any given moment.  Sure, your customers may want to connect with you during interactions in your pharmacy, but then their cell phone rings, a text message comes in, or their unread Twitter feed hits gigantic proportions.  And just like that, you’ve lost them. 

This isn’t necessarily a new problem.  But the problem is getting worse.  A study released earlier this year by Microsoft showed that the average person has an attention span of only 8 seconds.  (In case you missed the hype, that’s less than a goldfish).   To put this in perspective, that means if I haven’t engaged you by this point in the article, you’re probably about to stop reading and go check your email instead. 

Okay… who’s still with me? Anybody there? I certainly hope so because the thought that your customer’s attention is so fleeting should be a pretty scary one for most independent pharmacies.  It means that making an impact, being memorable, and earning repeat business just got a lot harder.  And if you are counseling them, it’s even more important to have their attention!   So let’s talk about some ways to deal with this inconvenient and unavoidable statistic.

  • Keep things efficient: Efficiency matters to today’s customer. And while you want to be able to grab and keep their attention, you certainly don’t want to force it.  Long lines are a major red flag in the digital age.  Remember, it’s likely that your customers can purchase a good amount of what you sell online with a few button clicks.  Make sure that you are staffed well enough to handle the volume of customers you have.  Historic reporting through your Pharmacy POS system can help you figure out customer volume and appropriate staffing levels.   Line busting with a mobile device also can help you keep your lines down to a dull roar and keep things quick for your customers. 
  • Be memorable: In the short time you have with each customer, you still have to make an impact. Setting your pharmacy apart with service is key.  The great thing is, if you’ve created an efficient work environment using mobile point-of-sale, you’re already on your way.  Just add in a service like curbside delivery (great for those who don’t have a drive-thru) and suddenly you are different from everyone else.  Outside of technology, make sure to use great service tips like using customers’ names, taking the time to ask questions, and truly engaging with each customer. 
  • Maintain contact: It’s important that you find ways to remind customers of your presence. Especially for customers that have only been in 1 or 2 times. You can bet they’re being blasted with reminders about your competition.  Just turn on prime time TV and try not to find a Walgreens or CVS commercial.  And while we can’t advertise on the scale of the big competition there are low cost ways to still maintain an active presence in your customers’ minds.  Being active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will keep your pharmacy’s brand fresh for customers.  You can also make sure that they see your name every time they open their wallet or pull out their keys by implementing a Customer Loyalty Program and issuing custom store branded loyalty cards. 

These few simple changes should help your independent pharmacy to adapt to the modern consumer in the digital age and snag your customers’ attention for long enough to keep them coming back to your pharmacy.  

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