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.
“In this volatile business of ours, we can ill afford to rest on our laurels, even to pause in retrospect. Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.” -Walt Disney
As a Pharmacy Owner, you mayfeel the constant obligation to seek new ways to provide your customers with a better experience. The value of quality customer service should never be underestimated. Complacency in any business will ultimately allow our competitors to advance beyond us. In the book Be Our Guest, the Disney Institute emphasizes that we should constantly strive to improve customer service standards and product offerings, especially as the desires and needs of our customers change.
The astounding success of The Walt Disney Corporation is inarguable. It is no wonder that thousands of companies worldwide have sought to learn the secret to these achievements. How does Disney keep its customers not only satisfied, but happy and returning year after year? The answer is simple: magic. Not surprisingly, magic is the edict of every Disney employee and the premise that each of its theme parks is built around. Provide your customer with a magical experience and they will come back for more. You can and should incorporate magic into your own pharmacy business “theme.”
How has Disney been able to establish such an admirable benchmark for magical customer service? By practicing the art of guestology – or the science of knowing its customers better. Disney recommends striving to meet, then exceeding the expectations of your customers every time. As anyone fortunate enough to have visited a Disney Theme Park knows, the memory of the experience lingers for quite a while. The same can be said about a visit to any business establishment.
Whether the experience is good or bad, the customer will remember and talk about that experience long after. (Although maybe not quite to the extent of meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time.) And if an experience is great the customer will return.
The following four components of the Disney’s Quality Service Cycle can help create outstanding customer experiences within your pharmacy business.
1. A Service Theme
A shared vision by all employees, which becomes the motivation behind providing the customer with excellent service. Disney’s Theme is to “create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages…” What’s yours?
2. Service Standards
These provide the basis for successfully implementing the service theme and are critical in keeping our customers happy. While Disney’s standards are universal (safety, courtesy, show and efficiency), a Pharmacy’s could also include reliability, personal attention, etc. When a person’s health is at stake, an atmosphere of trust and dependability is crucial. Education is anotherimportant standard. It is important to be current with the latest market trends and to have well-trained and educated employees regarding these trends. Your own standards will depend on the demographics and psychology of your customer base.
3. The Delivery System
Disney guests have stated that the warmth and charisma of the cast is the chief factor behind an exceptional park experience, and is the number one reason behind a return. It is obvious that the attitude of an employee makes an important difference in a company’s success. Employees are the key element in the delivery system.
The Setting: “Wherever your guests meet you.”
Speaks volumes to your customer. Walt Disney spared no expense in his endeavor to provide guests with the ultimate visual and auditory experiences. His approach to creating the perfect environment was based on the assumption that everything speaks. It is important that your setting is inviting and has pleasant qualities. People gravitate toward anything that is sensory appealing.
The Process: How your business delivers its services.
This includes the manner in which your employees interact with each other and your customers within your pharmacy business. At Disney World, the process begins with the parking of your vehicle. It continues with check-in and culminates in the check-out process. Disney’s process includes line management, restaurant service and involves emergency response factors. Anticipate potential problems and solutions before they happen.
Integrating these elements into your pharmacy business operations will produce smooth, efficient and successful results. You can even try out an Integration Matrix – similar to a tic-tac-toe board, with your service standards on the side and the elements of the delivery process across the top. With the driving force being the psychology and demographics of your customer base and the major delivery component being your employees.
Disney stresses that happy and well-trained employees will always deliver a better customer experience. Each combination of service standard and delivery process represents a service moment of truth and should be carefully considered in determining your own method of providing exceptional customer service.
Tip: Disney recommends storyboarding to provide a visual map of service solutions. In other words, create a picture of every service standard and delivery process. When you can picture a process from beginning to end, it becomes easier to execute.
Your results can create a multiplier effect on your business. In other words, the value of the whole organization becomes greater than its parts. Never underestimate the magic of exceptional customer service! Your success depends upon it.
Based on the book Be Our Guest! Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, by the Disney Institute
You’ve probably spent a lot of time telling your staff that customers are your number one priority. Surely you know that providing extraordinary pharmacy customer service will help you rise above your competition. You can talk about customer service until you’re blue in the face, but the truth is, good intentions can only get you so far.
Your customers are unique individuals, so their responses to your efforts will vary. Far too many pharmacy owners don’t take this into account when handling a complaint or problem that is brought to their attention. Believe it or not, there is a tried-and-true method for customizing your customer service to effectively deal with different personalities.
Read on to learn how to identify the four different basic personality types you’ll likely meet in your pharmacy and a few tips on how to achieve the best results:
1) Dominant Personality Type
These people are often aggressive and pushy, especially if they feel like they aren’t getting the kind of service they deserve. A dominant personality type will tell you why they are unhappy may never return. While they may seem intimidating, they give you the opportunity to keep their business by telling you what they want to have resolved.
When handling a customer that has a dominant personality type, it isn’t smart to argue with them or try to assert any kind of authority. They want to see quick results, so be sure to address their complaint immediately. A dominant personality type wants to see evidence that you take their complaint seriously.
2) Influential Personality Type
While a dominant personality type may present their issues with anger, an influential personality type is more logical and calculated. They are usually skilled in verbal attack and may also come across as manipulative. You may have heard a customer say something like “I bet a letter to the newspaper about what’s going on here would change your bad business practices!” If so, that person is an influential personality type and should be handled with care.
For some pharmacy owners, the course of action that will come most naturally when dealing with this type of customer will be to sit passively and allow the customer to lecture. This type of customer craves personal attention and the assurance that their problem is being handled with the utmost professionalism. Respond to this customer with a plethora of verbal affirmations and then take action to ensure the problem is being corrected.
3) Steady Personality Type
Those with a steady personality type may seem like your favorite type of customer, but they’re also the hardest to keep happy because they often don’t verbalize their complaints. Those whose personalities fall into this category are the least likely to be loud and argumentative. If they do eventually come to you with an issue, they may appear submissive, hesitant, or even apologetic. This type of customer rarely complains openly – he or she will internalize dissatisfaction and then take their business elsewhere.
When you identify a complaint from a steady personality type, show your commitment to saving the relationship and express that ensuring their satisfaction isn’t an inconvenience to you at all. You want to keep them happy and be sure to tell them that!
4) Conscientious Personality Type
Conscientious customers won’t angrily voice their complaints and call attention to themselves, but they won’t be submissive either. While their complaints may not be loud, they will have a sharper edge to them. Conscientious customers tend to recite the chronology of events and list the errors they’ve had to endure. They’ll provide data and documentation to prove their point.
The first step in dealing with a conscientious personality type is to acknowledge that they are right. Show them that you appreciate their thoroughness and then, patiently explain the process for correcting the problem. Resolve the issue quickly and quietly, so that the customer feels as comfortable as possible.
Dealing with a customer complaint is never easy, but handling a grievance incorrectly can result in loss of business. If you want to maximize customer loyalty, be privy to the characteristics that will help you identify these four personality types and the best methods for managing each one. Studies show that when customers feel that a company responded to and addressed their complaints appropriately, they are actually more loyal than if the problem never happened at all.
Responding properly to each situation that arises in your pharmacy is one of the best ways to ensure that your customers stay with you for the long haul. There are many methods for boosting customer retention in your pharmacy. To learn more about the various ways you can improve your pharmacy business, download our free ebook 3 Innovative Ways to Compete in the Pharmacy Market
Creating a personal connection with current patients is just as important as acquiring new pharmacy business. Adopting a thank you card program is an inexpensive, highly effective method for reinforcing the connection between patients and your pharmacy. Handwritten cards can also be used to express congratulations on a new baby, concern about a patient who has spent time in the hospital or interest in a customer who hasn’t visited your store in a while.
There are many reasons to regularly send notes to your patients, including:
Show Your Appreciation
Independent pharmacy owner, you have a lot to be thankful for. Your regular customers are supporting your pharmacy, helping you keep your lights on and doors open for business. A customer appreciation note makes a big impact with little effort. Keep it short and sweet. For example:
- Earning your business made my day! Your happiness is contagious and we are proud to call ourselves your hometown pharmacy.
- Thank you for letting us care for you while you have not been feeling well. You are in our thoughts and we hope you feel better soon.
- Thank you for coming in for your prescriptions today. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
- Thank you for taking the time to voice your concerns today. We always welcome suggestions on how we can improve our service.
All of your efforts to connect with patients should have one end goal – to build relationships. Thank you cards help encourage lasting, meaningful relationships by reminding patients of how much you care. For small businesses, expanding upon existing relationships is the best way to gain new business through customer referrals, so you can compete with bigger stores who use expensive advertising to build name recognition but don’t offer a personal touch.
Stand Out From Competitors
Any time you implement a program that your competition does not have, you are setting yourself apart from the rest. Your patients receive numerous emails every day and the vast majority of them are spam, marketing messages and social notifications. Do not allow your heartfelt message to get lost in the multimedia shuffle. A professionally printed card with a handwritten, personalized message shows your patients that you are serious about them and your business. As an independent, the ability to deliver personalized service is your competitive edge.
Handwritten cards are only one of the hundreds of ways you can improve your independent pharmacy business. What steps are you taking to ensure that you seize every opportunity to make your business better? You can begin immediately by downloading our free ebook, The Pharmacy Owner’s Guide to an Exceptionally Effective Implementation.
The Appointment Based Model (ABM) is a patient care service that allows pharmacies to schedule appointments for customers to pick up all of their medications at the same time by calling them in advance.
Pharmacies that have moved to the appointment-based model have experienced a better-quality performance, increased customer loyalty and ability to provide effective patient care. According to recent studies, ABM patients’ PAB scores have increased on average by 17 points after enrolling in the program.
Here are 5 reasons why your pharmacy should switch to an appointment based model:
1. Improved Patient Medication Adherence
The engine that drives the ABM is medication synchronization — the process that allows scheduling refills on the same day every month. Several days prior to the appointment, pharmacy staff will call patients to determine the fill order and identify any changes in their regimen, giving the pharmacy plenty of time to make any necessary adjustments. This also provides a unique opportunity to engage with patients and provide additional questions and answers.
2. Better Quality of Life for Patients with Chronic Conditions
Acute and chronic medication therapies can only achieve positive health outcomes if patients show persistence with their therapeutic plans. The ABM can help solve non-adherence problems with medications in patients with chronic conditions by identifying an “anchor” prescription to synchronize with all other prescriptions in timing and quantities needed. This system significantly reduces the number of incorrectly filled prescriptions and allows patients to be more consistent in taking their chronic medications.
3. Opportunity to Provide Additional Services
With each confirmation call, your pharmacy staff is able to learn critical information such as; if a patient has recently been in the hospital, visited a doctor, or has taken all of his/her prescribed medications. On these calls, there is always an opportunity to identify needs and provide additional services related to a patient’s condition e.g., immunizations, Zostavax, or PGX testing
4. Making Smarter Decisions Based on Customer Data Analysis
With data available in your ABM system you can focus not only on identifying the best eligible patients for the services you provide, but also create groups of patients based on different criteria. You can then effectively predict trends and suggest adjustments. For example, if a significant number of your patients experience an adverse effect to a certain medication after taking it for certain period of time, you can predict exactly when you need to adjust their prescription.
5. Lower Inventory and Delivery Costs
During preparation for a patient’s visit, your pharmacy can anticipate when their medications are needed, making sure that everything is in stock and all prescriptions are ready. Planning ahead will significantly lower your costs and ensure a higher inventory turnover. Consolidating patient medications alsoenables delivery of prescriptions to a patient’s home, only once a month vs. making multiple trips, thus decreasing delivery expenses.
Overall, pharmacies that have moved to the ABM have been shown to increase their overall performance quality and improve workflow efficiencies. If you are ready to embrace the appointment based model and evolve from being reactive to a more proactive business model, please join us by watching this webinar, The Appointment Based Model: Catalyst for Pharmacy Services Expansion.