You spend a lot of money on advertising, work really hard to find the best advertising outlets and get the ads perfect. Despite the hard work and attention to detail it is common to see new customers come in to the store to fill a prescription and you never see them again. This makes you wonder, “What went wrong?” But there could be all kinds of reasons why a customer visits once and never comes back. They may be from out of town and are just passing through. They may be just in the neighborhood and you were the closest pharmacy. Or they are generally healthy and this could just be a one-time prescription. There’s no telling what is the reason for the lone visit.
On the other hand some of your new customers become repeat customers filling prescriptions monthly or even weekly for years. This kind of customer is essential. They keep the business afloat and add profit to the bottom line. What if it were possible to take some of the one and done customers and make them long-term, repeat customers? It would only take converting a small percentage to make a huge difference over time. So taking the time to evaluate the new customer experience, in your pharmacy, and after they leave, can make a big difference in your long-term success.
You always want to take excellent care of everybody that comes into your store. That goes without saying. But the new customer is not, and should not be viewed as, the same as your long-term repeat customer. That first impression could make all the difference. And how you take care of that customer during their first visit is your best shot at bringing them back for a second or third visit.
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The first step is to develop a new customer procedure. Review everything the customer experiences during their first visit. Then develop a system which creates an excellent first visit experience. Everyone in your pharmacy needs to be trained how to properly handle a new customer. If everyone understands the importance of that first impression and understands the procedures in taking care of the new customer your chance of developing a long-term customer increases significantly. The steps for every pharmacy will be different based on the community, staff and other variables but some things that you could try include:
- Greet every customer as they walk in (new or repeat) as if they are family. Watching other happy customers leaves a good impression.
- Take a little extra time explaining your pharmacy’s procedures. After all it is their first visit, a little “hand holding” and guidance will help orient them to your drop off and pick areas and any other things they may need to know.
- Point out some areas in the store that may interest them while they wait for the prescription.
- Create a “new customer” brochure and give it to them when they drop off (while you enter their info into the computer). This could be a thank you letter and some basic information about your pharmacy.
- Work with local businesses and create a coupon book which you give out to the customer.
- Get some items together and make gift package to give them as a thank you for visiting. This could include pens, bandaids, trial sized items such as acetaminophen.
- Ask how they learned about your pharmacy. If they were sent by someone specific, find out who and send that person a hand written thank you note.
When the customer is ready to leave, be sure to thank them and invite them back to the store. You could give them a survey with a stamped return envelope that they could fill out. This would give you some feedback on how new customers perceives a visit to your store. This information could prove to be valuable in perfecting the new customer experience.
So now your customer has left the pharmacy, but this doesn’t mean the new customer experience needs to end. There are still things you can do to create a great first impression and a very happy long term customer. How about giving the new customer a phone call in 2 to 3 days and ask them how things are going with their medication? This would certainly catch their attention. Another idea is to send them a “welcome package”. Have the package shipped to the house with several goodies in there. Very few companies send a welcome package and this would definitely get their attention. Take some time and think about what items you could add to the package and really impress that new customer. Some items which you could include are:
- A welcome letter. Just a couple of pages thanking them for their visit.
- A brochure detailing your services (delivery, compounding, synchronization, DME, etc.)
- A refrigerator magnet, pen, note pads etc. These are inexpensive and can help them to find your phone number if they need to reach you.
- A bottle of vitamins or some other item you would like to add.
- A pill organizer, pill splitter or any other item you think they may need based on any conversation you had during their visit.
- Coupons from local retailers, restaurants etc.
- A customer referral form. Happy customers are likely to refer others to your pharmacy. Let your new customer know that people love you so much they are always referring their friends and family. You wanted to make it easy for them so you included a referral form.
So there you have it. A great customized new customer experience. Put one together and refine it over time to build relationships, increase prescription counts and traffic through the pharmacy. Please share your experience or thoughts below.