“Success comes in cans, not in cannots.” as PDS 2017 keynote speaker Joel Weldon is known for saying. The pharmacy myth that you cannot improve patient outcomes while increasing profits is a dangerous and false self-limiting prophecy; though it is understandable why some would believe it. Driving profits while simultaneously adhering to the best interest of the patient seems too good to be true.
Whether you are focusing on patient outcomes, sales, customer service, or leadership, it all comes down to the relationship you build with your patients that determines the success of your efforts. At PDS2017 Joel Weldon’s presentation “Elephants Don’t Bite! Little Things Make the Difference” will address how your team can take small actions to make a big difference in patient outcomes. PDS has identified 3 ways you can start taking action today. Read on to find out.
Every profit opportunity you implement should directly tie into the goal of better patient outcomes; this is the undercurrent of each strategy Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) provides our members, time and again. Some of our most profitable programs such as our SyncRx+ training rely solely on improving patient outcomes through engagement. The dedicated practice of routine comprehensive medication reviews and medication management pays in the currency of increased patient wellness, understanding, and compliance along with the growth of your bottom line.
PDS offers an array of member programs that produce pharmacy profits and address the patient’s best interest. You need only look at programs such as Bedside Delivery, Clinical Services Profit Ignitor, and Diabetes Care Club. Our point is that sacrificing profits for better patient outcomes is a myth that is dangerous to the pharmacy owner who believes it.
Now that this myth has been debunked, what is the process to ensure a constant focus on improved wellness and profits?
The short answer is, your pharmacy team. The slightly longer answer is, by focusing on the little things you and your team do every day. This leads us to something we’re very fond of saying at PDS:
It’s all the little things done exactly right that separates the ordinary stores from the extraordinary ones.
Your patients’ wellness starts the moment they walk into your store. Creating a culture where your team is knowledgeable of medications, drug interactions, and store products, will expand your patient wellness significantly.
Here are 3 ‘little things’ your team can do to focus on better patient outcomes while ensuring pharmacy profits:
- Provide ‘upsolutions’ to customers that walk through the door.
For example, a team member can suggest solutions such as probiotics to offset antibiotics, or supplements for nutrient depletion — all to ensure patients receive the best therapeutic outcome from their prescriptions.
- Train your pharmacy team regularly.
Providing your team with the proper knowledge of pharmacy products, basic drug interactions, and common upsolutions will give your store the edge it needs to keep the customers happy and healthy.
- Create meaningful conversations with patients.
Your team is in the position to have impactful and informative conversations with patients. Train them to treat every interaction as an opportunity to ask questions, impart knowledge, and coach your customers toward adherence and improved outcomes.
Want more? At the 2017 PDS All-Star Super-Conference, one of our keynote speakers, Joel Weldon, dug deep into how the little things can make the largest difference in your pharmacy, namely on patient wellness and profitability.
Missed the 2017 conference? No problem! You can register now to attend next conference in February!
When you partner with organizations such as Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) and Live Oak Bank, you are choosing to do what it takes to win in an unfair game. You no longer have to make due with whatever prescriptions come through the door. If you know where to look there are countless opportunities to make a substantial profit in your independent pharmacy. Continue reading “Busier or More Profitable: Which Would You Rather Be?”
The Walking Dead (TWD) series has captured the dark imagination of TV audiences over the past six years, and fans (many of whom work at Pharmacy Development Services) are counting down for the season premiere this Sunday. We’ve identified the top three TWD lessons that independent pharmacy owners can apply to running their business.
You may be thinking, “What can a zombie show teach me about running a pharmacy?”
Ok, so you aren’t facing literal life and death decisions in a post-apocalyptic world, but pharmacy owners everywhere are facing significant changes in an industry that is fighting to survive and thrive — just like Rick Grimes and his team. Continue reading “3 Independent Pharmacy Lessons from The Walking Dead”
Data-Analysis for Independent Pharmacy Owners
Are you the type of independent pharmacy owner who is content to drift along with the dated model of taking whatever business happens to walk through the door? Don’t settle for “business as usual” and “my pharmacy is doing just fine.” The unfair game PBM’s are playing won’t change until you start to look at your profitability differently. Discover where big money can be made in independent pharmacy–it’s right under your nose, and you don’t even know it.
Pharmacy Development Services (PDS), believes that the success of each independent pharmacy is a win for everyone and we are ready to show you the level of commitment we have to your success.
As an independent pharmacy owner, your pharmacy manager has the ability to make your life easier and boost your profits. In the same light, the wrong pharmacy store manager can hurt the success of your store. When hiring a manager, look for a candidate who not only demonstrates the work experience listed on his or her resume, but someone who also has the results to back it up. For example, your candidate should be able to share examples of how he/she has contributed to the bottom line in previous positions and additionally he/she should be able to provide a list of references who can vouch for the work performed.
Here are the top 3 attributes to look for in your next pharmacy store manager:
- Drives Sales And Exceeds Goals
If you want to thoroughly test candidates, share a sample of your annual business goals for your store and then ask each candidate to provide some possible solutions based on your data. This exercise is a great way to see if the candidate has the ability to problem solve and is sales oriented.
Specifically ask the candidate how he/she would lead the pharmacy team to increase sales. If the applicant truly understands the value of human capital and how to lead, answers should look like this:
- Giving praise for hard work and achievements individually and as a team
- Being open, honest and communicative with team members
- Continually coaching team members to sharpen their skills
- Supervising and influencing time management
- Holding employees accountable
- Increasing morale with creative and cost-effective rewards
- Strong Leadership
To succeed, your store’s team needs someone who will lead by example. Anideal management candidatemust be a leader for both your team and your business. If an applicant shows signs of weakness or too much leniency, it could spell disaster for your company in the future. The manager must be able to delegate tasks appropriately while running the store effectively. These are some important examples to look for:
- Ability to recruit, hire and retain top talent
- Ability to multi-task under pressure in a fast-paced environment
- Ability to adhere to the company’s budget
- Ability to work effectively with other store managers (and you)
- Ability to execute plans in a timely manner
- Ability to solve problems small and large
- Affinity For Customer Service
An ideal management candidate should understand the value of your existing customers along with building new customer trust and relationships. Regardless of whether a customer is a “regular” or a new patient, a good manager will lead his team to exceed expectations at every opportunity.
Your top candidate should encompass some or all of these attributes:
- Gives undivided attention to customers
- Is courteous and a good listener regardless if they are getting a compliment or a complaint
- Is able to solve problems quickly and innovatively
- Is professional, calm and patient at all times
- Shows delight in helping people and making things “right”
If you find a manager who meets all or most of this criteria, you will be on the path to operating a successful independent pharmacy business, primed for growth. Hiring the right talent (and eliminating the wrong talent) will help you build a stronger reputation for yourself as a pharmacy owner. Word will quickly get out that your store is the premier pharmacy with the best customer service in town.
If you need more help with hiring the right talent or leading your team, PDS can help, simply click below to schedule a call with an expert Business Advisor.
This guest post was written by Dr. J. Murray Hockings, founder of Help Your Diabetes and author of Imagine Living Without Type 2 Diabetes.
Currently, there are 33 million Type 2 Diabetics and 84 million Pre-Diabetics in the United States. That is 117 million people, which is 50% of the adult population… and climbing? (according to JAMA 2016)
A lot… that’s how many. And it’s projected to be over 60% by the year 2020. The pharmaceutical industry made over 200 billion in 2015 just selling Americans diabetic medications and that number is projected to be over 500 billion by 2020.
In the United States, Type 2 Diabetes is the #1 cause of…
- Blindness (after having diabetic retinopathy)
- Dialysis (after having kidney damage)
- Kidney Transplants (only about 12% are lucky enough to get one)
- Amputation (after having neuropathy that progresses to gangrene)
Diabetes is a nasty disease, as you know and close to 100% of the population either has it or knows someone who does, and the complications aren’t pretty. The traditional medical approach is to prescribe diabetic medications, give some basic eating tips and hope the disease can be managed without the development of severe complications, the key word here being “hope.”
Many people wonder why there has been such a rise in Type 2 Diabetes the past 50 years and some blame a conspiracy between the food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. This idea is false. Yes, the pharmaceutical industry is profiting enormously from the rise of Type 2 Diabetes, and the epidemic of carb addiction in our country is growing rapidly, but there is no conspiracy.
I get asked this question a lot in seminars I give all over the world.
“Why are eating bad carbs like bread, rice, cereals and pasta so bad for us now when 100 years ago people ate them and diabetes was rare?”
The answer is simple and explains the main reason for the Type 2 Diabetes epidemic that is expanding in our country and around the world. One hundred years ago we weren’t sedentary like we are today. Most people today, are sitting on their rear ends for 16 hours a day instead of farming or working in a factory where you would burn off 5,000-10,000 calories per day. Back then you could get away with not eating optimally because you burned off all the “bad stuff.”
This epidemic of being sedentary has started in children now where they play video/computer games five to ten hours per day instead of getting outside and playing hide and seek, climbing trees, riding their bicycles every where they go, etc. This has caused an epidemic of obesity in children that has never happened in our country before and I’m now seeing children with Type 2 Diabetes, which never happened until recently.
This sedentary lifestyle has also crept into the choices we make for what we eat. It is much easier to microwave something or eat it out of a box then it is to prepare a salad from scratch or make a nice meal. Most people lead very busy lives and they sacrifice convenience over good food choices.
Most Type 2 Diabetics know there are foods they eat every day that they shouldn’t, but they do it anyway and depend on their medications to balance everything out. This is not a good plan and causes them to live with a false sense of security.
For those people that want to actually reverse their Type 2 Diabetes, there is a solution. There is a program that is proven to reverse Type 2 Diabetes naturally (provable with pre and post labs) and you can now offer this program in your pharmacy for your patients.
PDS has invited me to host a free webinar on Thursday, August 4 at 8pm Eastern where independent pharmacy owners can learn how to help patients get their bodies back to true health by losing weight with a natural approach.
On this webinar, we’ll discuss…
- Evidence on how Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed naturally
- How to become foremost diabetes expert – the “Red Zebra” – in your community
- Why offering a solution to reverse Type 2 Diabetes can dramatically grow your business
Register for the exclusive webinar teaching pharmacist how to implement the same program for their patients and achieve remarkable results.
As social media becomes increasingly effective as a marketing tool, it is little wonder that small businesses as independent pharmacies are starting to take advantage of this convenient and cost-effective medium. Without a huge brand name or giant marketing budget, independent pharmacies need to get creative in engaging with customers and social media can be a great way to keep the relationship going beyond your store’s four walls.
However, many independent pharmacy owners and managers, find the thought of tackling social media confusing and overwhelming. Pharmaceutical marketing doesn’t have to be intimidating and in fact, here are a few easy ways to start using social media for business:
- Create a dedicated Facebook page for your pharmacy
By creating a simple Facebook page online, you will be able to post helpful information for your store, such as business hours, dates you will be closed, special events, disease-specific information, tips and more. Simply think of this as a modern day interactive phonebook, where people can look you up and stay in touch. You can post messages, answer questions and interact with customers and patients to help them find what they are looking for. Facebook provides easy instructions and best practices for getting started on their site.
- Consider setting up a Twitter account for your pharmacy
Pick an easy to identify Twitter handle (account username) for example @A1Pharmacy, which can be really effective for driving awareness to your store. Twitter is an easy and simple way to communicate with customers and prospects in real time. It can be a great tool to spread “short and sweet” messages about sales, vaccination clinics, CDC updates, awareness campaigns, educational seminars and so much more. Twitter can also be utilized for sharing information or suggestions either “live” or prescheduled at a later time that you designate. For example, you might tweet (a “Tweet” is a Twitter message in 140 characters or less) “Stop by our store today to get your flu shot before the season kicks into high gear.”
Regardless of what social channel you use, remember to create posts that lead to conversations rather than simply provide information. Negative comments should also be addressed on social media quickly and honestly. Complaints are a part of any business, but managing the issue and repairing your pharmacy’s brand with quick explanations or apologies will go a long way in increasing customer loyalty.
- Providing critical information to customers on your website
Although Facebook and Twitter can be easy ways to engage in online conversations, it is equally important to provide helpful information to customers via your website and follow-up with social media posts. This can include policy changes, medication recalls, emergency information after a natural disaster, job openings, disease education, government regulations, vaccine reminders and other important details about your pharmacy that customers should know and be able to learn about quickly. All information should be presented in a professional and knowledgeable manner, representing your pharmacy’s brand. Simply think of this method as another tool to engage and delight customers and reach those people who may not be responding to traditional direct mail or advertisements.
Both your website and social channels should be activated for promoting sales, seasonal events, invitations to customer appreciation days and other local community events.
Finding new methods to drive awareness to your store may seem challenging, but using a combination of traditional and new media marketing methods, will help your independent pharmacy thrive and grow.
With so much competition among pharmacies, it can be difficult for an independent pharmacy to gain traction in their local community. After all, larger chains tend to occupy every single corner in America, making it all the more important for community pharmacies to stand out.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to increase your pharmacy profit. With the right pharmacy team and pharmacy programs, your store can be a hub of consumer activity.
It seems pretty straightforward, but make sure your team is doing the obvious and non-obvious things to best position your store effectively. Here are three simple steps you can take to better serve your customers and make your independent pharmacy more profitable.
Most of the time customers enter your store with a specific purpose in mind. It might be to fill a script, to purchase cosmetics or a greeting card. Key product placement is essential to a positive consumer experience and if your customers have trouble finding what they want, they are likely to become frustrated and stop shopping with you.
As a pharmacy owner, it is important to always analyze the layout of your store. Too often, owners fail to see things from the customer perspective so be sure and strategically place products in logical, convenient locations, have appropriate signage and prioritize popular products whenever possible. Also, think seasonally. For example, in the winter cold medicines should be easy to find. In the spring and summer, prime shelf space should feature sunscreen and allergy medication.
Additionally, items should be logically grouped so if someone is going to buy bandages, he or she may also want an antiseptic at the same time. When these products are placed close to each other, they will be easier to find and increases the likelihood of the consumer buying both products instead of only one.
It is not just about how the shelves are organized but what is on the shelves in the first place. Modern consumers are used to options. When they arrive in a store, they expect to compare and contrast different brands to find the best product at the best price.
To this end, similar products should be in the same aisle. If a customer wants to find pain medication, all the options should be readily available on the same shelf. This way, it is easy to compare brands, gauge prices, check out dosages, ingredients and more. In order for a community pharmacy to stay relevant, having the best selections in town is of vital importance.
By having enough brands on hand, every customer will find what he or she is looking for before checking out. This is all a part of providing a positive experience for customers, ensuring that they leave satisfied with their purchase. Just remember the context in which most people visit a pharmacy. Many customers visit the pharmacy when they or their loved ones are sick. This already causes enough stress. It is the job of the pharmacy staff to make them feel comfortable and help them as much as possible.
Although stocking your pharmacy effectively can make a huge impact on the bottom line, pharmacy employees also play a big role in increasing profitability through upselling. One of the easiest ways to increase profits is by encouraging your team to engage with patients and customers and be comfortable making recommendations or upselling.
Upselling is a common business strategy, in which employees leverage a conversation with consumers to get them to buy more. While it is important to never be too pushy in a selling context, pharmacy employees have a unique opportunity to provide targeted helpful product advice.
In a restaurant upselling means offering appetizers, alcoholic beverages and dessert to increase the cost of a meal. In a pharmacy it can be as simple as suggesting related products. When someone comes in to buy cold medicine, a friendly reminder that there is a good price on tissues or humidifiers might be effective. If a customer is picking up a box of diapers, pointing out the great deals on diaper cream or baby wipes might be a logical extension.
Employees should be well-trained to look for these opportunities, offering smart suggestions that appeal to a consumer’s specific needs. This will not only improve profits, but it can be a critical part of excellent customer service. A good upsell should never feel like a sales pitch. Instead, it should feel like one-on-one attention from a dedicated employee.
If you are interested in increasing profits at your independent pharmacy let’s talk. Schedule a free discovery call with an experienced Business Growth Advisor to get advice about leadership team development, increasing profitability and much more.
Become a Community Healthcare Destination
How can pharmacy owners stand out among the competition and grow market share? By positioning your store as a community healthcare destination.
The healthcare landscape is one of constant change and gaining a competitive advantage can be an ongoing battle for the independent pharmacy owner. There are a multitude of challenges that owners like you deal with every single day just to keep the lights on and leaving little energy to innovate.
So how can pharmacy owners stand out from the competition and enhance market share?
It’s simple. By positioning their pharmacy as the “community healthcare destination”.
But You May Be Wondering How To Position Your Pharmacy As a Community Healthcare Destination
Utilizing tools, such as data-mining which means analyzing information to find patterns of useful information that can be applied to your business. Data-mining enables you to identify key areas of opportunity that you can react to. You may find trends that indicate a need to stock a certain product or a product or service that might need to be eliminated. By reviewing data and learning what is really happening in your store, you can find areas to improve your business, streamline and ultimately increase your bottom line.
Keep in mind that innovation can take on many forms; there may be dated processes in need of overhaul, or a new niche service that you can incorporate to address a specific healthcare concern within your local area. Or perhaps a new more profitable medication that you can use to replace another one.
Here are some simple steps to getting started on the path to establishing your pharmacy as a community healthcare destination in your neighborhood:
- Strive to understand the unique healthcare needs of your community – Once you begin to understand the healthcare needs of your community, you can identify how to address them by adding, clinics, immunization programs, disease education and much more.
- Use data to discover opportunities and refine numerous aspects of your business – Analyzing and understanding your data, can help you determine key areas of focus such as improving customer service, adding new disease-specific products and/or managing your P&L more efficiently.
Pro-tip Don’t just look at profit data, track results! Successful patient outcomes will be instrumental in the long-term marketing of your pharmacy services.
- Become a Community Healthcare Ambassador – Once you identify one or more areas of specialization to focus on in your pharmacy, you can start planning the implementation and marketing of these services. Visit doctors offices, hospitals and elder care facilities to build your network and share the unique services you offer to support the needs of these patients.
Pro-tip: Your knowledge is your strongest asset. Focus on quality, not quantity when it comes to patient interactions.
BONUS: Community-centered programs to solidify your position as the local community healthcare authority:
Below are some helpful turn-key programs and initiatives that PDS has developed to help independent pharmacies expand their reach and establish themselves as the leader for treatments and education. Need help getting started? Contact us for more information!
Understanding the needs of your patients will allow you to identify new services, key products, and distinguish you from your competition. Utilizing this knowledge will be invaluable for the longevity and sustainability of quality programs and exceptional customer care.
No one knows your local community better than you do, so use these tips and free program guides to decide which programs will be the best for your business.
Let’s talk! Schedule a call with an experienced pharmacy business expert to learn more about our independent pharmacy strategies that will have you on the fast track to profitable results.
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 by selling shoes online 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. Continue reading “Are All Customers Created Equal?”