One good thing that 2020 brought is the fact that the need for a trustworthy pharmacy is higher than ever. With that said, though, many people are over big-name pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS because their needs are not being met.
Big retailers like these put the customer experience second to profit a lot of the time. Because the quality of service reflects this, it usually sends customers and their business somewhere else - like independent pharmacies. Independent, local pharmacies care about their customers in a way that big chain stores don’t have the capacity to. They provide service that’s personalized and, with the right tools, can attract a new customer base that is tired of being looked over by big names.
This article will detail a few of the best business practices for independent pharmacies to stand out against the big retailers, including:
● Customize the patient experience
● Become an expert
● Get online
● Get used to new technologies
● Create a brand
● Give back to your community
Customizing the Patient Experience
When you’re gaining new customers, you have to consider the reasons why they’re leaving their previous pharmacy. It could be that they want a more customized experience, or maybe they’re looking for a pharmacy that carries out prescription delivery. No matter the reason, you can stand out from the big names by showing off the fact that you give every patient a unique experience at your pharmacy.
Every patient wants something that’s tailored specifically to their needs, and that’s usually what they’re looking for when in the market for a new pharmacy. As an independent pharmacy, you can boast the fact that you have a relationship with every single one of your patients - meaning that you can create a unique experience for each of them. That’s something that big retailers definitely can’t say, and many times it’s the deciding factor when patients choose to switch over to a local pharmacy.
Become An Expert
Patients want to put their medical information in the hands of a pharmacist they can trust. You can assure your customers that you’re practicing at the top of your license by showcasing your expertise in the field.
Patients want a pharmacist who can give them medical advice, and a pharmacist who has a relationship with their patients is capable of that. At independent pharmacies, patients are much more than a number - they’re a name and a face and a specific case, and that’s attractive to many people.
You can help your patients trust you by showcasing the fact that you know what you’re talking about. Highlight that you care for each individual that walks through your doors. This standard of care will show in positive online reviews and word of mouth within your community, and trust will build based on your authenticity with your patients.
In order to spread the word about your business further, your pharmacy needs to be online. There’s no way around it in 2021. Having a website is just as important as having an enticing storefront these days.
Along with your website, it’s also good practice to control the narrative of your brand by meeting your customers where they spend the most time - on social media and Google. Building a reputation (or furthering your positive reputation) online will show potential customers that you’re worth their business. New customers don’t tend to trust a business that has little to no reputation online.
Online reviews are also a great tool that you can use to improve your customers’ experiences. By reading reviews, you can understand what your patients enjoy about your pharmacy, and what you have room to work on.
Get Used to New Technologies
Whenever new pharmaceutical technology becomes available, you should be checking it out and implementing it. Technology provides a patient experience that’s convenient, quick, and easy, and that’s what most everyone is looking for. Even something as simple as adding a mobile app can improve your patients’ experience by leaps and bounds.
Other technologies that your independent pharmacy can implement are:
● Call tracking
● Artificial intelligence
● Pharmacy automation
Even if it’s not possible right now for your pharmacy to adopt these new tools, there’s no reason not to learn about them and plan for the future. Doing that shows that you’re always looking ahead.
Create A Brand
Creating a brand is more than just a logo or a set of colors. It’s what you stand for, the quality of care that you bring to your community, and what sets you apart from all other pharmacies. Once you can define why you do what you do, then you’re on the way to creating a unique brand that tells customers why they should choose you over big-name retailers - and then stay with you.
Give Back To Your Community
Independent pharmacies are, many times, staples of their community. In order to strengthen this relationship, it’s important to give back to your community in ways like:
● Volunteering for events
● Educating the community on health issues
● Donating to local charities
● Hosting events in your pharmacy
Giving back won’t only strengthen the relationship between your pharmacy and the community, it will also get the word out about your business. By showing that you care about your community, more people in said community associate your pharmacy with positive actions and will want to give you their business.
Of course, big-name pharmacies aren’t going to disappear from the market or lose the power that they already have. But just because they’re big players in the game doesn’t mean that you have to sit on the bench. Using these tactics to stand out, you’ll surely have a fighting chance to grow a customer base of your own.