I recently enrolled my little ones in toddler gymnastics. (I use the word “gymnastics” loosely.) The boys obviously enjoyed their first class so I was pretty much already hooked. But then the gym did something that all but guaranteed my patronage at their specific facility. When I handed my credit card over to kick off monthly billing for their program, they handed me a parent packet. I was expecting it to be filled with disclaimers, holidays that the facility is closed and advertisements for their other programs. But I was pleasantly surprised to find so much more.
You may know that gymnastics can be a pretty expensive sport. Especially when you get into the higher levels. Toddler gymnastics once a week is one thing, but the tuition for competitive gymnasts is a sum that makes me hope the boys move on to a different sport when they get older. Normally, I would expect this to be shrugged off by the business. “We’re expensive, so what?” or “If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.” But the parent packet I was handed actually told me where my money was going. They included a list of equipment that would be upgraded or replaced this year, along with the costs, and a staff overview highlighting the expertise of their coaches and office staff. I was definitely impressed. This business, (much like REI from my post earlier this week), showed me that they stood behind their mission statement. They aren’t just sitting by, collecting money, happy with the status quo. They are making investments in their business and making sure that my children continue to have wonderful experiences in their facility.
Just like I feel better knowing that my kids are playing on updated equipment, your independent pharmacy customers will be more satisfied if they know that you are making investments to improve product offerings and services. Here are four ways that you can show your customers that you stand behind everything your independent pharmacy is about, and that you are committed to providing the best possible customer experience.
Training: Making sure that your pharmacy staff receives regular training will mean that your customers always have great experiences. They’ll see the results as staff become more proficient with pharmacy technologies, learn how to improve customer service, and become more knowledgeable about the products your independent pharmacy carries. If you have new employees in training, make sure they aren’t afraid to tell customers that they are still learning. Also make sure that those new employees know where to go to find answers when they need them. Investing in training your employees will also help them to be happier and more confident, reducing turnover. In the long run, customers will be happier spending their money at a store with knowledgeable, well trained employees that they recognize than they will at a big box store with high turnover rates.
Technology: Technology is a great way to prove to your customers that you are making investments in your pharmacy and, by extension, working to improve their experience. For example, if you are using an outdated pharmacy POS system that is bottlenecking the checkout process, and have been for some time, your customers are likely to see that as apathy on your part. But if it’s clear that you keep up to date with technology and make changes when needed, your customers will better understand your commitment. Make sure that you have enough point-of-sale lanes in your pharmacy to serve the volume of customers that you have. Try to keep check out areas clean of debris, dust and clutter.
Using Feedback: It’s been said before, but it’s certainly worth saying again. The only thing worse than not knowing about a problem, is knowing about it and doing nothing to address it. Make sure that you listen to feedback, respond to it, and make corrections when necessary. Both from your customers, and from your pharmacy employees. When you do make changes, don’t let them happen without at least a little bit of fanfare. For example, if you expand your beauty/cosmetics department based upon customer requests, be sure to advertise that fact on your website, on or around store signage, on social media platforms, and on any print publications you send out.
Give Back: Investing in your pharmacy is important, but it’s equally important to invest in the community where you do business. You should have a symbiotic relationship. Your pharmacy cannot thrive without the patronage of community members, and the community wouldn’t be the same if your pharmacy weren’t there. Giving back can take many forms. Participating in community events, hosting a charity drop-off point, or making donations to local charities in lieu of giving cash rewards for customers participating in your customer loyalty program. Just let the customer choose the charity that their rewards will go to.
Implementing these ideas and continually investing in your store and your staff will make a very quick impact on your community and your customers. What other ways have you re-invested in your store to drive growth? Please share them below.