Most businesses try to make the lives of their customers easier in one way or another, with varying degrees of success. For some, it’s an active pursuit. For others, it’s simply a by-product of the products or services that the business sells. At RMS, for example, we actively pursue the goal of making our customers lives crazy easy through our pharmacy POS solutions and the support and training services we provide. It’s right in our mission statement. Because this is so important to us, we are always looking at ways to improve and things that other businesses do well that we can take inspiration from. And this week, once again, I have to tip my hat to Amazon for their latest ingenuity when it comes to ease of ordering.
Since I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve mentioned Amazon more than once. They seem to be on the cutting edge of some pretty dramatic changes to the face of online retail. Some of these changes are pretty cool, and some are a bit too farfetched even for my taste but there’s always one underlying theme. They are obviously trying to make shopping on their website easier than anywhere else. The latest gadget is a button for one click re-order of specific products. And I don’t mean a button on their website in your Amazon account. I mean a physical button. Supposedly you’d have buttons for household staples, like laundry detergent. Stick this button to your washing machine and simply push it when you notice you’re running low to order more. You’ll get a text message to confirm the order and you’re done. That’s not just crazy easy, that’s scary easy.
While this kind of technology isn’t feasible for the average independent pharmacy to implement, we can take a little inspiration from this complete commitment to easy shopping. Let’s break it down a little bit.
First, Amazon makes re-ordering items as simple as possible. Think about ways that your pharmacy can do the same. Do you have an IVR system that will allow customers to simply call in and order prescription re-fills with the push of a few buttons, and is that system user friendly or unnecessarily complicated? If IVR isn’t the answer make sure that you have plenty of staff to answer phone calls promptly without putting customers on hold. Don’t risk the customer taking their business elsewhere because they were forced to wait on hold to get their refills requested or other questions answered. Also consider online contact options for those that want it. Of course not everyone will, but when it comes to online access, those who want to communicate that way will shop elsewhere if you can’t accommodate them.
Second, Amazon offers the convenience of never having to leave the house. Delivery services are becoming more and more important. While offering delivery represents a significant investment and ongoing operational expenses for your business, it opens up an even wider potential customer base. You can charge for your delivery service or offer it as a courtesy. If you do decide to charge, consider offering a discount to participants in your Customer Loyalty Program, or even providing it as a free service to loyalty customers who reach a certain purchase threshold and loyalty level. Make sure that the delivery process itself is easy with processes to accept payments and signatures.
The most important thing to take away is that your customers are almost certainly judging how easy it is to work with your pharmacy. You can make it easy for them to do business with you and crazy easy for them to feel good about their experience.
Karen Deckard came to RMS with a background in retail and customers service, and was initially brought on board as a Sales Assistant and managed IIAS certifications for RMS’s pharmacy POS customers. Today, Karen works as a Customer Success Manager, striving to provide independent and institutional pharmacies with the tools and resources they need to succeed in today’s competitive pharmacy market.