From Practice to Pro: Keep Your Pharmacy Winning
The road to achieving success is filled with hard-fought lessons, picked up along the way. Pharmacy school gave you formulas and drug interaction information, but left out the nitty-gritty of what you need to run a successful business.
This post won’t provide tips for filing claims or walk you through optimizing your pharmacy’s Comprehensive Medication Review template. Yes, that type of information is crucial to running a pharmacy business. However, we are focusing on some commonly overlooked pharmacy business principles from our keynote speaker, Earvin “Magic” Johnson that, if applied regularly, will keep your business winning in the game of independent pharmacy.
Millennials, defined as those born between the early 1980’s and 2000, are an extremely brand-loyal generation. Developing relationships with this demographic should be a major goal for your pharmacy. One of the best ways to gain the business of this 80-million member group is to gain their trust. You will be well on your way to securing millennial supporters if you adhere to these six easy tips:
Maintain an Authoritative Online Presence
Their ability to find information about you and your products is crucial. If you offer a service at your pharmacy, like a medication synchronization program, put it on your website and publicize it. Millennials did not learn computers and internet skills later in life like older generations – internet access is all they have ever known. They are the first generation to grow up in a digital world and simply will not trust a business without a quality website and reasonable social media engagement.
Engage with Them
It’s not enough to just have a website and social media accounts. They want to engage with brands on social networks. 62% of millennials say that if a brand interacts with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. This obviously requires more labor on your part, but will be well worth it when your business expands as a result.
Don’t Ignore Their Complaints
Some sociologists refer to the millennials as an entitled generation. What this means for your pharmacy is that ignoring their feelings is a sure way to lose their business. When problems develop, do not avoid them, make excuses or place blame. You should immediately fix the issue. In a millennial’s eyes, the customer is always right and keeping them happy is your responsibility.
Never Misrepresent a Product or Service
Remember, this is the group of people most likely to engage with their peer group over social media. Never misrepresent the features, advantages and benefits of a product or promise anything you can’t deliver. One millennial who feels they have been lied to can easily alert hundreds or even thousands of others within seconds, which will cause big problems for you. On the other hand, millennials can serve as irreplaceable ambassadors if they are happy with your business.
Let Them Help You Plan
Millennial customers are the future, so why not let them help plan that future? When determining upcoming services or goals, let a group of millennials help you decide on the next big steps. In a Forbes survey, 42% said they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services. Typically, companies create products and hope that their target market will consume them. Millennials don’t like this traditional mindset – they want to be involved with products from the beginning of development. If your pharmacy enables them to be part of your brainstorming, the whole process will be more successful.
Donate or Volunteer Locally
Millennials want to stay loyal to a brand that gives back to society. In the same Forbes survey, 75% said that it’s at least somewhat important that a company gives back instead of just making a profit. Millennials love brands that support their local communities and would rather purchase from them than corporate competitors. Your pharmacy can do this easily by rolling out a free children’s vitamin program or other services to benefit underprivileged youth.
If you want to build trust and credibility with your Millennial customers and hold on to them for life, you can easily get started today by watching our free webinar, 5 Ways to Attract, Engage, & Delight Millennials.
What kind of results can you expect with this shift in thinking? Great question.
Below is a visual aid showing you precisely what you are leaving at the table if you aren’t a PDS Member. These results are real, from real pharmacy owners across the nation.
Ask yourself, do you want to walk away from these profits?
Save your seat for the most important pharmacy conference we have ever held here, where you’ll have a chance to listen to these same PDS members tell you EXACTLY how they generated millions in profits.
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.
Improve Pharmacy Profitability
The average independent pharmacy operates on very thin profit margins, forcing owners to reevaluate ways to keep costs low and profits high on a regular basis. Not knowing where to look first can be frustrating and overwhelming. Here are the three methods of improving your pharmacy profitability you should regularly assess in your business.
How to Buy Smarter with Pharmacy Wholesalers
Typically, a single wholesaler will not meet all of your purchasing needs nor provide the best pricing for all prescription purchases. A good way to avoid relying on one wholesaler and putting your already thin profit margins at risk, is to have several secondary suppliers as a point of comparison. Taking advantage of the Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) industry-exclusive message board in PDS Advantage will enable you to get peer recommendations, insights and customer service feedback, before making commitments.
Know Your ‘Top 20’ Prescribers
Not all prescribers are created equal so ramping up your profits should start with identifying your most profitable prescribers. A deep dive into your data will show you which prescribers are moving the profit needle, and which ones keep you busy behind the proverbial bench. Prescribers may land on your list for a number of reasons, but volume should not be one of them. Once you have identified key providers, start implementing ways to stay top of mind by providing value-added services and exceptional customer service to keep the referrals coming in your door.
An often overlooked way to increase your pharmacy’s profitability is to ensure you are recouping the maximum on insurance reimbursement claims. There are three strategies every pharmacy should implement and enforce to remain confident that you are not leaving any profits on the table.
- Regularly update U&C price points — This information is critical to setting an accurate cash price for prescriptions and receiving the maximum on insurance reimbursements. It should be standard operating procedure to examine your switch data to identify claims that paid at U&C.
- Ensure accuracy with DAW claim codes — Incorrect coding can result in the accrual of significant losses. Train your team to be attentive when submitting DAW codes, because not doing so will negatively affect the profitability and efficiency of your pharmacy; the reimbursements will be inaccurate; the pharmacy will lose time over claim resubmissions and misinformation on claims may trigger the most dreaded consequence — a pharmacy audit.
- Consistently update AWP information — Pricing and reimbursements models are still largely based on AWP, and ‘bad data’ leads to inaccuracies that affect profits. Pharmacy owners should make sure their software is updated daily with the latest pricing information. Many third parties lag in their updating of AWP, which will mean a pharmacy will have to invest time to reverse and resubmit claims to capture lost profit.
Independent pharmacy owners often believe they cannot impact their pharmacy profitability. However, the strategies above can result in thousands of dollars in profits each month. Yet, most pharmacies haven’t changed the management of prescriptions and processes in years. If you are waiting for prescriptions to come in the door, dealing with inventory and purchasing headaches and finding little time to implement new initiatives or improve your current processes..you are doing it wrong!
Running a reactive pharmacy is ineffective and killing your bottom line…but there is a better way! SyncRx Plus is a program that incorporates the traditional synchronization adherence model and with an added MTM component. The implementation of this program will improve your pharmacy’s profitability through data mining, improved quality measures, workflow efficiency and by leveraging your third-party contracts.
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.
One of the biggest advantages of managing employees at an independent pharmacy is the flexibility to design a personalized pharmacy team. In fact, a well-managed, high-performing team will produce better business results.
But how does one build a team of high performers?
Effective communication is an essential part of effective team management. Better communication facilitates more streamlined operations, and helps eliminate time-wasting activities because everyone understands what is expected of them.
Pharmacy owners must shift the focus of their employees towards achieving business goals, personal accountability and top-notch customer service. Your customers and employees will all be happier thanks to this approach.
Here are some important tips for turning individual pharmacy workers into an impressive high-performance team:
1. Effective Time Management
Start by analyzing the duties of each team member. For a thorough and accurate analysis, it is best to do this without following the workers around like a shadow. Simply observe what they do throughout the day, and ask them about their duties. Ask these questions about different tasks to determine if they are essential:
- What would happen if this task were removed?
- Are there more benefits or disadvantages for changing this process?
- Is there any way to simplify this task or process?
- Are there too many people working on the same tasks?
- Are technologies available to make this process simpler?
Never make a change that compromises quality, service or accuracy in filling medications. When time-wasting tasks are cut and duties are clearly outlined for each team member, assignments will be finished faster. The day-to-day nature of the pharmacy business can be unpredictable, but implementing a time-management plan will make fluctuating volume demands easier to navigate.
2. Set Clear Business And Performance Goals
Every independent pharmacy owner should have specific goals. Setting daily goals for managing time, completing tasks or hitting a specific sales target can be a great way to help your team stay focused. Communicate these goals with your team members using a central shared bulletin board or an electronic system for better clarity. Hold regular meetings to evaluate progress.
3. Motivate With Incentives
When most independent pharmacy owners think of incentives, they think of cash bonuses. These are not always necessary. Weekly rewards such as a free bottled beverage and a protein bar could also do the trick to reward behaviors inexpensively. Consider offering gift cards, an extra vacation day or a credit voucher for in-house purchases to the best-performing worker on your team for each quarter. Simple recognition tactics such as paper awards, thank-you notes and a program for honoring the top employee of the month, can help boost morale and encourage quality work.
4. Rethink Training Strategies
Are staff members effectively trained when they are hired? Examine pharmacy training materials and methods. If there are processes that seem ineffective, remove or replace them. Ask your seasoned team members to suggest improvements for new employee, team training and development plans. One of the most important elements to incorporate throughout training and beyond is a collaborative culture.
5. Create A Team Culture
pharmacy success stories have a positive culture of teamwork, which translates to increased efficiency and improved ROI. Though building a strong team is not a one-time activity or a box you can check off. The process itself takes time and work, and maintaining it requires a team-oriented workplace culture.
If a pharmacy has several employees and a few departments, it’s a good idea to designate leaders for each. Then encourage team leaders to strengthen their sub-teams and support one another. It can be helpful to have regular “all team” meetings where workers praise one another for their efforts.
High-performing pharmacy teams are worth their weight in gold. Pharmacy owners have the power to create a positive and collaborative store environment that makes for happy customers and better results.
Would you like to learn more about building and leading a High-Performance Team? Let’s talk!
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.
The Pharmacist of the Year is selected annually based on their commitment to the well-being of their customers and local community and contributions to the independent pharmacy profession. Essentially, this is someone who is known for their committment to moving the profession forward in a positive way.
Jason Foil of Lumberton Drug Company in Lumberton, NC is a true innovator! He holds an Elite Level PDS Membership and has been part of our PDS Family since 2012. One of the reasons he is being recognized for this honor is his robust list of accomplishments and tremendous growth and profit for his three stores.
How did he achieve these phenomenal results? Here are a few highlights:
- His pharmacy offers a unique synchronization program called Home Rx that takes the enrollment process direct to patients’ homes or facilities. In 2015, he and his team expanded the Home RX program and doubled enrollments from 245 to 500 patients (a 1.8 x return on investment).
- He worked with his team to develop a Diabetes Care Club to monitor patients’ A1C numbers and to track and measure the impact of their program on their patients’ health. The Diabetes club has also attracted new patients to the pharmacy.
- He focused on building relationships with doctors in their community to look for opportunities to integrate the needs of the community with the pharmacy’s offerings.
- He focused on his own growth by participating in several PDS trainings including, the Advanced Leadership Program and Dare to be Free. He joined the PDS Board of Directors Group which he says provided him a network of contacts across the country and new opportunities, along with a peer group that held him accountable.
Congratulations to the PDS 2016 Pharmacist of the Year, Jason Foil of Lumberton Drug Company!
If you would like to reach this level of pharmacy achievement, it is never too early or too late to get started. Many of the most successful pharmacists we work with begin by focusing on one specific program like synchronization or compounding. Jump start your success by downloading your copy of our free ebook, Generating More Pharmacy Customers with Compounding, where you will learn how to launch your own compounding niche and get more customers in the door immediately.