Why Investing in Your Pharmacy Employees is Better than Relying on Raw Talent

rms-pharmacy-pos-pharmacy-employees.jpgSeveral months ago, a graphic started to make the rounds online.  You may have seen it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.  With a refreshingly unhidden agenda, the graphic was titled “10 Things That Require Zero Talent”.  It is exactly as it sounds and at first glance it seems to be something that shouldn’t even need to be said.  (Being on time, work ethic, effort, body language, energy, attitude, passion, being coachable, doing extra and being prepared) The importance of these characteristics is something we all should have learned after our first day of work at our very first job. And as a pharmacy owner or manager, they are certainly characteristics that you should be looking for when you hire new pharmacy staff.   

I think we can all agree that everyone should pay attention to each and every item on the checklist, and do their best to display these characteristics (especially when working in customer service). But I think there’s more to it than acknowledgement. In the world of pharmacy, so much of what you do is amplified because pharmacy customers are relying on you and your staff to help them get healthy and stay healthy. It’s not only you who needs to see that your employees are on time and passionate, but your customers as well. After all, at the end of the day, it’s their opinions that matter the most.

To accomplish this, you need to do more than set expectations with your employees. Instead, provide them with the tools and infrastructure to make sure that your pharmacy customers can see how much your employees can shine. Here’s a closer look at how you can help your employees succeed in the eyes of your customers in some key areas.

Being on time and being prepared – In a pharmacy this goes far beyond showing up to work when you’re supposed to. Being on time means serving your customers in a timely manner and having their prescriptions ready when they expect them to be. There are so many different factors involved in every transaction that the only real way to accomplish this is by implementing systems to help you. Knowing that there are additional prescriptions available for pickup so the customer doesn’t leave without one and being able to quickly check customers out without unnecessary delay are a couple of major things that will help customers see your pharmacy as efficient and on time. These same tools help you seem well prepared in all of your customer facing interactions.

Work Ethic – Work ethic is defined as “a belief in the moral benefit and importance of work and its inherent ability to strengthen character.”  Of course there’s individual work ethic which is so important, but your customers really won’t see work ethic on an individual basis (unless someone goes way above and beyond or falls short of the bar).  What they will see is that your pharmacy employees seem to understand the importance of what they do and are striving towards a common goal. This is where your Mission and Vision Statements come into play. Display them for your customers to see and make sure your pharmacy employees know these statements inside and out. 

Body Language – I sometimes have to consciously adjust my posture because I often stand with my arms crossed over my chest.  I don’t usually mean anything by it but it certainly doesn’t send a great message if I’m trying to have an open positive conversation.  Despite our natural comfort zone, we should adopt an open relaxed position, smile and maintain eye contact. These are all things that are proven to improve the customer experience.  But here’s the thing: if you’ve got a counter between you and the customer, how can your body language make any positive difference? It can’t, unless you remove the counter from the equation.  This is where mobile POS technology can help.  Removing barriers between your pharmacy staff and your customers can make a big difference in the overall customer experience.

Be Coachable – This applies to everyone in the pharmacy, from owners to pharmacy technicians to clerks. If you can’t accept feedback and adapt accordingly, you’ll never grow. Remember, coaching can come from all different sources. Of course customers may be your most frequent suppliers of feedback, but you should also be open to suggestions from employees. And don’t discount advice from your pharmacy business partners. Your pharmacy system and pharmacy POS providers should be experts in the pharmacy industry and can often provide insight to help solve a particular problem.  

Doing Extra – For a pharmacy, this really means services. Think Curbside Delivery, patient counseling, customer loyalty and rewards, or recommending supplements.  All of these things will help your customers see your pharmacy as going the extra mile. 

This is a closer look at just some of the characteristics that impact how effectively your pharmacy operates and how successful it will become.  I encourage you to focus on one of these areas at a time and think of ways that you can help your employees become better. What ideas do you have?  I’d love to see them in the comments section below.