Running an independent pharmacy is a calling. Those who choose this line of business do so because they find it immensely fulfilling on a personal and professional, level. You know that your pharmacists, and the teams that support them, are critical to the health and wellbeing of not only your business, but also the communities they serve.
It is precisely this synergy that helps to build and promote meaningful relationships with your customers. The smart independent pharmacy not only recognizes this, but seizes on the opportunity to put this relationship to work for them.
Meet Customer Needs Without Sacrificing Profit Margins
Independent pharmacies have a long history of running on lean profit margins. This history is the driving force which pushes local pharmacies to find ways to control costs, while still being able to provide the quality and service that their customers have come to expect from an organization they consider a partner in their healthcare.
Here are five tips on how you can meet your customer’s expectations, without risking your bottom line:
No one likes being pressured into making a purchase they don’t really need. Be ready to clearly demonstrate the value of a purchase to your customer. Suggest off or private label products, or products that complement a purchase they’re making. Be sure to point out how the purchase can save them money. For example, if they’re purchasing a medication that can cause dehydration, point out that the spring water on sale that week is a particularly good value.
By not pushing needless purchases, and being knowledgeable on the savings realized to the customer for purchases you do suggest, you’re increasing your company’s transparency which will increase the customer’s trust in suggestions you make.
Create a Loyalty Club
You don’t have to be a large chain store to offer customer loyalty programs, and these programs can be as simple or complex as you wish to make them.
For example, you can do something as simple as offering 10 percent off coupons to customers who make larger purchases. Put a minimum purchase requirement on the coupon and you can easily increase sales, while giving the customer additional purchasing power.
As you get into a habit of offering this type of promotion, you’ll begin to notice purchasing patterns that can help you create additional rewards.
Have Staff Be Active Consultants in the Sales Process
Train your staff to be active in the consultative side of the sales process:
- Never answer with an “I don’t Know”
- Find an answer immediately or take the initiative to find the answer for the customer and follow through as quickly as possible. This can be in person, by phone, or via email, but follow-up is vital to this process.
- Recognize the engagement level necessary for each customer, for example, an elderly retiree will need a different level of service vs. the rushed executive who can only come in on their lunch break.
Providing this level of customer service will help ensure your customers return. And, with little to no financial investment, can also secure a steady profit stream.
Be Value Driven
One mistake that independent pharmacies make is the practice of discounting products in an effort to stay competitive with larger retail chain pharmacies. The truth is, smaller, local pharmacies will never be able to out price the box stores – which is why they need to think outside the box.
Focus on the biggest reason your customers choose you: customer service.
Successful independent pharmacies know that customers will pay to have their concerns heard and their needs met – whether that’s through personal attention, inventory, or any other of the unique services your pharmacy provides.
Use that knowledge to your benefit.
Tying it All Together
Running any business can be financially rewarding, but running an independent pharmacy can also realize both personal and professional rewards that far exceed any financial bottom lines.
By utilizing these tips, your company can continue to provide the quality and excellence your customers have come to enjoy, while also allowing you to maintain a strong, respected presence in the community and maintain your profit margin.
Be sure to follow this blog for more tips, insights and bulletins that can save you money – all from your partners at AlliantRx.