In the past few years, it has become more important than ever for independent pharmacies to go beyond just filling prescriptions, and offer additional services like immunizations, compliance packaging, MTMs, and more. With DIR fees and low reimbursements, it is crucial to diversify in order to just stay afloat.
In addition to financial benefits, you could also see an increase in patient loyalty. By offering more services, you are creating a “stickiness” with current customers and look more attractive to potential ones. For example, a patient does not have to schedule an appointment with their doctor for a pneumonia shot if they can just swing into their local pharmacy to get one. Or they may be less likely to use multiple pharmacies if they know you can package all their medications in a strip packaging, saving them time and hassle.
Creating this stickiness with patients has become increasingly important as competitors continue to add more services. CVS for example has started delivery services, and Amazon is now offering packaging with their Pill Pack program. Consumers are lured away by your competitors easier if they feel like they do not have a reason to stay with your pharmacy.
What else can you offer? Here are a few ideas:
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It can feel daunting to decide which service to add, due to additional expenses, potentially additional staff time, and just a change in daily operation. This feeling has stopped many pharmacy owners from taking the next step, leaving them stuck in the past. To get started, break down the large goal of, “I want to offer compliance packaging” into smaller ones. Create a timeline of the smaller steps needed to reach your goal. Include your staff once the plan is laid out, so they are on board with the change as well. Make sure to include metrics with your goals, how many patients do you need to use the service to make it profitable?
If you need some inspiration, ask your customers through a quick survey. What service do they want? The answer may be staring you right in the face. In addition, your patients will appreciate being asked, it means you value their opinion. Another way to determine is look at your market, is there a need not being met? Are you in a newer community with lots of young families? What about adding a free kids’ vitamin club?
No matter what you decide to add, it is important to market it. Otherwise how will people know? Start with current customers and branch out to your community. Put a message on Facebook, send out a quick press release to your newspaper, or host an open house at the pharmacy. Do not be afraid to shout it from the rooftops about your new service, it took a lot of hard work, money, and dedication.