Are All Customers Created Equal?


Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) takes pride in an unmatched commitment to helping independent pharmacy owners improve their businesses and become more profitable. In the spirit of bringing the latest innovations and best practices to PDS Members, CEO, Dan Benamoz, recently took his Leadership Team on a field trip to see another world-class organization up close — Zappos headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. This ground-breaking e-commerce organization is known for many things like disrupting the retail sector and an unwavering commitment to customer service.

So, what can a company that helps independent pharmacy owners have in common with an e-commerce shoe company?

As it turns out, a great deal.

To improve customer service, increase profits, and drive word of mouth referrals, both Zappos and PDS understand that it is imperative to know who your most profitable customers are.

Know Your Top 50 Most Profitable Patients

In business, it is said that 80% of profits come from 20% of your customers. Zappos has taken this concept a step further, identifying the most profitable customers through data analysis. Once identified, the company strives to provide these VIP customers with their famous white-glove level of customer service (Think 365-day return policy, personal phone calls to cultivate a human connection, and occasionally; random gifts sent in follow up to such calls). 

Applying a similar tactic by targeting the VIP customers in your pharmacy will grow your profits and drive word of mouth referrals. Simply stated, go above and beyond the typical pharmacy experience and WOW your customers! For example, if you have a patient that generates $7200 in profit per year, ask yourself, is using $200 to ‘surprise and delight’ your top customers a good use of your marketing dollars?

Ideas for How to Provide Exceptional Customer Service in Your Pharmacy

  • Mail patients a handwritten thank you note or a get-well card.
  • Personal phone calls to check how they are doing with a particular medication or see if they need any other supplies.
  • Random acts of kindness such as small gifts, flowers, pizza, whatever it takes to ‘WOW’ them.

Know Your Top 10 Most Profitable Prescribers

When patients receive a recommendation to visit your pharmacy from a physician, it adds a level of credibility to your business. By analyzing your data and figuring out where the most profitable referrals are coming from, you will be able to nurture and build upon the opportunity for more customer referrals similar to those on your top 50 list. The reasons why a prescriber may land on your list will vary, but you want to focus on where the money is, not the volume. Do you want to make more money or do you want to be busier? You get what you focus on. Regardless of the reason, once you have identified these key contacts, you will want to stay top of mind by providing value-added services.

How to Build Prescriber Recommendations:

  • Strive to understand why certain prescribers are profitable.
  • Customize your services and communications to suit the unique needs of the office and of the patients that you are accommodating.
  • To the prescriber, position yourself as a solutions partner that they can rely upon and will make them look good for recommending you.
  • Work to WOW and delight these valuable customers so they sing your praises to the prescriber, their friends, family, and co-workers. People talk about the unusually good and the unusually bad. Make sure you supply them with plenty of good things to say about your pharmacy. 

Techniques, such as data mining, are increasingly important in today’s competitive business world. Targeting your most profitable patients and prescribers is the chance for you to promote your pharmacy’s niche services and build relationships that continuously drive referrals. Prescribers want to refer patients to pharmacies that will care for their patients and make everyone’s life a little easier. It may seem like a lot of work, but the result will be a precise picture of where your profits are coming from, where they are headed and will well be worth the effort.



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