New customers equals growth
When running a business, it is only natural to focus on new customer acquisition. It is easy to understand that attracting new customers results in increasing sales. If you want to grow your business you definitely need to bring in new customers. But while you want to attract new customers to your pharmacy it is important to do everything you can to retain your current customers. Also, keep in mind, it cost significantly more to attract a new customer than it does to retain a current customer. So you need to allocate some resources to customer retention.
Current customers equal stability
Your current customers are at least as valuable as any new customers you may get. Your current customers are the foundation of your business. They provide a regular and stable income and you want to do everything you can to keep them coming in over and over again. In fact, if you can convince them to come in more frequently, or by more at each visit, your current customers can be a source of growth in your pharmacy.
It is clear that your current customers are extremely valuable to your business. So what are you doing on a regular basis to ensure your current customers continue to shop with you? In this highly competitive environment, doing little things can make a huge difference. What is it that are you are willing to do to set yourself apart from the competition and keep those customers coming back to you?
I have put together a few items for you to consider in your pharmacy. Hopefully some of these items will be useful and maybe reviewing this list will help you come up with other ideas that you can implement to help retain your current customers.
Greeting every customer that comes into the store. There is a Firehouse Subs down the street. The staff is trained to acknowledge every customer that comes in with a greeting…”Welcome to Firehouse Subs.” This one little greeting makes the customer feel appreciated and welcome in the restaurant. It is definitely a different experience than walking into a Subway or some other sandwich shop.
Answering the phone with a smile on your face. Silly as this may sound but simply having a smiling face changes the tone of your voice. When someone is on the phone with you they don’t get any of the visual aspects of a face-to-face conversation. The smile on your face brings warmth to the tone of your voice which can be detected by the listener. This one little thing can make a huge difference in the conversation. And if the person on the other end of the phone is a new customer, a warm and friendly greeting would make a great first impression.
Add something extra to the prescription bag. There are all kinds of things that you could add to the bag and provide extra value for that customer. For example, you could have a recipe of the month that you give to every customer. Or, during diabetes month, you could provide some information for diabetics on how to manage their condition. Another thing you could try is to talk to your local businesses and ask if they would want to provide special coupons for your customers that you would add to the pharmacy bag. The opportunities to provide a little something extra here is limited only by your imagination. When providing something extra in the bag, be sure to leave some sort of reminder for the checkout person so they will make it a point to let your customer know you have added a little extra in the bag “just for them”.
Write a note on the bag or the prescription bottle. I have seen some pharmacies that take the extra two seconds to write a hand written “thank you” on the bag, or add a little smiley face sticker to the bottle. This tiny little extra does not go unnoticed. The customer frequently will make a comment about how nice it was to get that little note, knowing how busy the pharmacy can be. Don’t underestimate the power of a tiny personalized note.
A personal follow-up phone call. Did your customer start on a new medication or ask a series of questions? Why not give them a call after two or three days and check in with them? Ask them how their new medication is working. Ask how they are feeling. Ask if they are experiencing any side effects. This simple gesture will help develop that personal relationship with your customers and ensure they come back to you again.
Send a welcome package in the mail. When you get a new customer, take a moment to welcome them to your pharmacy and thank them for coming in. After they leave, send them a welcome package in the mail. This package could include a welcome letter, a small gift, a pamplet detailing your services, coupons to a local restaurant, etc. After they receive that package, it would be difficult for them to choose to go anywhere else.
Every customer is different, and some seemingly insignificant little factor could be all it takes to make a raving fan who will never go anywhere else. In fact sometimes these little things, that many of us may take for granted, are the very items that some of your customers will talk about to their family and friends. Working on customer retention could mean bringing in new customers through word-of-mouth.
Now please share your thoughts. What are the little things that you have done in your pharmacy to set yourself apart? What are some of the things that you are going to do moving forward? If you have any other thoughts, ideas or suggestions please share in the comments section.
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