I’ve always loved Halloween. I know I probably should have grown out of it by now, but I just haven’t. And I hope I never do. I think it’s something about this being the one day a year where it’s okay to be a little weird and let your imagination be free. Of course I’ve changed my Halloween habits a bit since the days of door to door candy mongering, but I still have fun remembering the costumes my mom used to make for me each year and that age old question that I had to ask at ever door…. “Trick or Treat?”
When I was a kid I don’t think I actually realized that “Trick or Treat?” was a question. It was just the prerequisite to obtain massive amounts of sugary goodness. But it is in fact a question, and asking this question at every door got me some pretty sweet rewards every year. I know “Trick or Treat?” doesn’t reward us as adults, but as a pharmacy owner, there is a new question that you can ask yourself that might turn up some pretty good rewards for your pharmacy. And since Halloween is a time to let our imaginations run a little bit wild, I think that today is the perfect day to ask yourself this question.
Point-of-Sale or Point-of-Service?
In a traditional retail environment, the point-of-sale, where you finalize the transaction and send the customer on their way, is also the point-of-service. In the case of most retailers, this is the only place where interaction with the customer occurs. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing, and it could be hurting your customers’ experience in your store and cutting into your average ticket size.
But if the point-of-sale as the only point-of-service isn’t necessarily the best practice for your pharmacy, then what is? Well, for starters, point-of-service should be the primary and most memorable interaction that your customers have in your pharmacy. They shouldn’t remember waiting in a long line to complete an assembly-line like checkout process. “Hi, how are you? Did you find everything you needed? Have a nice day!” And wash, rinse, repeat. It’s not memorable, it’s not personal, and most customers aren’t going to answer honestly.
Here are a few steps you can take to change things up in your pharmacy:
Greet every customer that walks through the door– Let your customers know that you know they are there and that you’re there to help. Not greeting a customer can make them feel like they are unwelcome, which is the very last first impression you ever want to make. If you have regulars, start memorizing names so you can greet those loyal customers in a more personal way when they walk in the door. (This is also a good practice as it helps to cut down on theft)
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine- Every week, I share some personal details about myself in this blog. I hope that it helps you to get to know me a little better and relate to me and to these articles. It’s good practice to let your customers see that you are people just like they are. It helps to build a relationship with them which will keep them coming back to your pharmacy instead of going somewhere else.
Don’t chain your staff to the front counter-Have someone available on the sales floor to help your customers. They can be completing other tasks when it’s slower, like inventory management, updating price stickers, or straightening shelves. Just make sure that when a customer is present they are attentive and aware of their needs. Customers may not wait in line to find something that they need so having someone available on the floor to help them can keep that sale from walking out the door.
Turn the point-of-service into the point-of-sale-That clerk helping customers in the aisle doesn’t have to end the interaction and send them back to the register. Mobile technology can give you the ability to ring the sale up where the interaction with the customer actually happens. Talk about memorable! This won’t be an experience your customers are likely to forget. Check out our EvolutionPOS handheld register to learn more.
I know this all may seem a bit spooky, but it really is time to turn traditional retail upside down. So this Halloween, instead of dressing up in a costume and going door to door, think about dressing up your pharmacy with some new service tricks.
Karen Deckard came to RMS with a background in retail and customer 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.