3 Ways to Make Your Pharmacy Better than the Competition

Earlier this week I posted a short article on how perfection has become the new standard in customer service.  More and more, it seems that companies and consumers expect the customer experience to be flawless.  Personally, I like the philosophy that there is always room for improvement.  I think it can be a big part of what helps us grow both personally and professionally.  But regardless of our personal thoughts on the matter, the culture we do business in today often expects excellence without exception.  

Perfection, no matter how you approach it, is a lofty goal.  The definition will differ depending on who you talk to and you’ll never know whether you’ve lived up to expectations or not until you find out you haven’t.   I could go on, but I think this quote from Vince Lombardi says it best “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”

If you’ve read many of my blog posts, you might be experiencing a little déjà vu.  I’ve talked before about how important it is to focus on providing an exceptional customer experience in your pharmacy.  But today, rather than dwelling on past tips like customer loyalty programs or using mobile technology for one on one customer interactions,  I want to talk about some other factors that go into making your pharmacy  better than the competition

Great Leadership: An independent pharmacy owner or manager is responsible for setting the tone.  As a leader, what you do impacts everyone else.  Many studies and articles point to the conclusion that better leadership (Or leadership that is perceived by the staff as effective) leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction.  This slideshow is a great (and amusing) representation of what separates a great leader from a tyrannical boss.  Ask yourself these two questions.  What kind of leader are you? What kind of leader do you want to be?

Find ways to have fun: Virgin America is consistently ranked as one of the top airlines in the U.S.  I’ve never flown that airline but one of our technicians recently flew with Virgin America between Seattle and San Diego.  He shared his experience with their new in flight safety video as well as a video of one of their flight attendants so obviously enjoying his job that the generally more expensive Virgin America airline fares suddenly seem worth every penny.   From our technician’s descriptions of his experience, it seems clear that their positive attitudes and passion for their work is infectious.  A study released in 2008 backs this up as it found that the happiness of people around us, in our friend groups, families and social networks, can make us happier as well. So find ways to have fun in your pharmacy.  Maybe dancing up and down the aisles isn’t exactly the right fit for your store, or maybe it is, but if you and your staff can find ways to make it obvious that you enjoy your work, you’ll improve the customer experience. 

Incentivize, don’t punish:  The carrot or the stick?  It’s an age old question. But, if we go back to our leadership slide show, it seems that encouragement, inspiration and collaboration are all powerful tools for the effective leader.  An environment where employees can learn without fear of punishment is almost always going to be better.  And remember, since happiness is contagious, the happier and more comfortable your employees are, the happier your customers are likely to be.  Use your pharmacy POS system to track employee performance and make sure they understand the tools they have available to them to reduce errors. 

According to a quote from Salvador Dali, we should “have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it”.  And maybe that’s true. Perhaps a true perfect 10 does not exist when it comes to the customer experience.  But aiming for perfection and always working to improve the customer experience can only benefit your pharmacy.