It can be easy to forget, but your pharmacy is a business. And just like every other business in the world, you want your customers to keep coming back. You want your pharmacy to be your customers’ go-to destination for when they have questions about medications, when they need to pick up prescriptions, and when they need a few odds and ends (if you’re a retail pharmacy).
In order to make all of this happen, you’ve got to attract, engage, and satisfy your customers (AKA your patients). Doing so is called the patient lifecycle.
This article is going to give you a few hints on how you can extend your pharmacy patient lifecycle and improve your pharmacy in a general sense.
1. Attract More Pharmacy Patients
The first step in keeping patients is getting patients in the first place, and in order to do that you’ve got to attract them to your business. So, how do you make this happen?
One of the biggest and most successful ways that you can attract new patients is through marketing. Depending on the vibe of your location and your overall pharmacy, that could mean print marketing or digital marketing. Many pharmacies find that digital marketing is the way to go these days in the ever-growing technological world, and it’s how they succeed at attracting new customers.
Marketing is all about what catches people’s attention - and where are most people nowadays? On social media. If your pharmacy has a social media presence, the word of your business will be more effectively dispersed and you’ll attract new customers in no time.
2. Engaging Current Patients
After you’ve attracted new patients, you’ve got to keep them coming back. And the way you can do that is through patient engagement. You’ve got to have a strategy to keep customers coming back - or more than one strategy.
What will you do that makes your pharmacy stick out from the rest? A few suggestions for customer engagement include:
● Introduce an IVR system that will eliminate wait times and make prescription refills that much easier
● Use outbound messaging to notify your patients that their prescription is ready (this could be via email, phone call, or text)
● Ask your patients for reviews and respond to each one (whether it’s positive or negative)
● Educate your patients and let them know that your pharmacy is much more than a place where they come to pick up their medications. They can also ask questions, get advice, and have an all-around good healthcare experience
If you make your patients feel like they matter and that they are more than just a number to you, it will keep them coming back.
3. Satisfying the Customers
This is similar to engaging the customers, but a bit different. You want to make sure that your customers have an enjoyable experience when they use your pharmacy - because a satisfied customer means a customer who won’t just come back, but one who will recommend your place of business to their family and friends.
There are many things that you can do in order to keep your customers happy. A few good examples are:
● Sending them thank you cards or holiday cards - a personal touch is always nice
● Follow up with a phone call to see if they are satisfied with your pharmacy’s service, or follow up with a phone call to check in if they recently began taking a new medication
● Use sales data to see what your customers’ future needs will be
● Put a loyalty program in place for returning customers in order to create incentive
4. Getting Referrals
Referrals are a key indicator of your pharmacy’s reputation in the community and your profitability as a whole, but they are something that many pharmacists tend to overlook.
Take this into consideration: If someone’s physician recommends a pharmacy, four out of every five patients will use that pharmacy. If someone’s friend or family member recommends a pharmacy, three out of every four people will use that pharmacy.
You want to make sure that the service you offer is good enough to be referred by physicians and customers alike. This is a major way to attract new patients and boost your reputation within the community. If people know that you’re trustworthy enough to be highly recommended, then they’re going to give you their business.
5. Increasing Profits
If you increase the patient lifecycle, your profits will also increase. Did you know that it costs five times more to bring in new patients than it does to maintain existing customers? If you prolong the patient lifecycle and make sure to keep your current patients happy and satisfied, you can increase profits anywhere from 25-100%.
Remember that you can extend the patient lifecycle by offering personalized care and making it a routine to carefully examine your sales data for new opportunities and changes within the marketplace. Keeping up on these things will help you deliver a positive patient experience and maintain a business environment that keeps your customers coming back.