Is your pharmacy adding value to your community?
Well what a silly question! I assume there might even be some eye rolls reading this. However I am actually asking just that.
Before working for Peak Strategies I had no experience with pharmacies other than being a customer. I would visit pharmacies to either fill a prescription or to buy something for my runny nose.
I never gave pharmacy’s role in the community much thought. To be frank if you were to ask what value pharmacy added I would have probably answered filling prescriptions; selling medicines and other random items like candles.
Fast forward to now, with my knowledge about pharmacy land the answer is very different. I understand how much value a pharmacy can add to a local community. The variety of services, education and products pharmacies offer (if they choose to) impact local communities in such a positive way.
However it’s not up to your customers to understand what your pharmacy offers.
There is probably a vast amount of residents in your local community who don’t know a pharmacy’s true value.
As a pharmacy owner you need to communicate the value to the community. Therefore frequently ask yourself what value you are adding to the community. This needs to become like a mantra for yourself and your team.
By the way big box discounters aren’t going anywhere and competition is tough. Focusing on something not within your control won’t improve your pharmacy’s bottom line or value. So now is a great opportunity to embrace your resources, products and team to demonstrate how valuable YOUR pharmacy is to the community.
In spirit of our forward thinking mindset at Peak Strategies; I will share some strategies to help determine your value proposition for your pharmacy. You may already know your value but it is always great to review.
Vision and value go hand in hand however they do differ. A value is what you find important and beneficial to your local community. Whilst vision is forward thinking for the future and what your want your pharmacy to be.
So without understanding both for your pharmacy, you’ve already lost the race. Spend some time with your team, business partners, mentors and even customers to discuss their perception of your pharmacy. Write down your goals (both professionally and personal) to figure out what you want from your pharmacy in the future. This will all help with establish the vision for your future.
Your team in my opinion is your most valuable asset. They are at the forefront of your brand and when a customer walks into your pharmacy, your staff is who they liaise with. Your team is such an important cog of your pharmacy and they cannot be ignored.
Having a strong culture within your workplace definitely increases the value of your pharmacy. If a team member is happy, passionate and confident in their role they will be amazing ambassadors. Ensure you have a solid human resources plan for every member of your team. Take the time to hold staff meetings, ask for feedback and just make sure they know how valuable they are. Effective communication is priceless.
In recent times big box discounters and even some franchised pharmacies cleverly shifted the focus of price to the forefront of consumer’s minds. Unfortunately now consumers associate pharmacy with the cheapest price. So this is why your services become very important.
Services are one of the biggest contributors to the value of your pharmacy to local communities. Ask yourself, what do you want your pharmacy to be recognised as? Do you want to be an ultimate health destination or is there a niche service you want to narrow in on? There is an array of options to choose from however a major warning, you have to be all in or not at all. If you’re not passionate about particular service, then do not invest in it. You have to sell the value of a service to your team then to consumers. If you aren’t interested then why would anyone else?
Your services need to interrupt a customer’s day in a positive way for them to visit your pharmacy. Some pharmacies are really doing it well, however I believe there are so many opportunities that most owners continue to ignore.
Take a break from your day to day and lock yourself away to do some planning. Research local demographics, top selling products, average basket size and anything that gives ideas about adding value to your pharmacy. Also spend the time talking to other local businesses and residents; they would have a wealth of information of what the community needs. Look at what strategies local retailers, boutiques and franchise chains are doing. Look at what lessons you could learn and adapt to help the community. This helps shape a strategy to what services your pharmacy should be offering. Remember the mantra of what value is each strategy adding to the community.
Experience and knowledge
Pharmacists are very well educated health professionals; however I believe currently they’re extremely under valued within the community. I think that is because the public aren’t always exposed to their depth of knowledge. This however isn’t the public’s fault; they just merely haven’t been informed. That is why you need to educate, promote and communicate your knowledge to your local community.
There are so many ways that this can be achieved with the digital age we’re in. Start looking at social media, blogging, videos and websites etc. Utilise relevant platforms to reach your customers and educate them. Brainstorm all of the information that you believe is significant to your local community.
From there create a content calendar and promotional strategies to push this information out. This helps with creating value around your pharmacy. Marketing should be educational, not just promotional.
In today’s current climate you can’t stand still, be innovative and think outside the square. There is so much noise at the moment in terms of price, PBS reform and the landscape of community pharmacy. What I recommend is to really start reflecting and brainstorming. With the new financial year and the review being finally released, there is no time like the present. Take control of your pharmacy’s value and start educating the community.
And now that you have read this blog, ask yourself do you truly understand the value your pharmacy is adding to the community.
Once more, remember to make this your mantra.
Written by our Client Communications Manager, Sarah Rendell.