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4 Insane (BUT TRUE) Things to Know About Light Retrieval for Pharmacy Will–Call Management

4 Insane (BUT TRUE) Things to Know About

Pharmacy Light Retrieval for Will–Call Management


The buzz in retail pharmacy to streamline will-call retrieval is LED lights that illuminate prescriptions that need pick up.  Light guided pharmacy will-call retrieval also known as pick to light systems are designed to create a much more efficient method of retrieving prescriptions.  Pharmacies are taking notice and the technology is being installed at pharmacies across the globe.  Below are 4 things to know about pharmacy light retrieval for will-call.


Not All Pharmacy Pick to Light Retrieval Systems Require New Bags and RacksHang up bag suncrest

If you already are using a hang-up bag system in your pharmacy for will call there are LED light up sticks that drop into your current bags and software that integrates with your pharmacy management system.  This is a great option with no pharmacy downtime and lower over-all cost


roi-barMeasurable ROI Shows Significant Savings On Both Time And Money

When asked about the ROI for a light guided pharmacy will call system, Drew Huggins with DrugCo pharmacy in North Carolina states:

“Our light guided will call retrieval provides a huge amount of ROI for both money and time.  Our pharmacy fills 1,300 prescriptions per day and has over 600 individual prescription pick-ups on a typical day.  If we are conservatively saving an average of 1 minute per prescription pick up, we are recouping almost 10 hours of employee time PER DAY in retrieving prescriptions alone.  Our cost savings are primarily associated with this reduction in employee time burden, as well as a decrease in costs associated with prescription pick-up errors and lost time for long searches”

Light Guided Pharmacy System Streamlines Return To Stock Retrievals and Shows Measureable ROI

Wolters Kluwer Health Abandonment Report states that 6.8% of all prescriptions are never picked up by patients.  A pharmacy filling on average 250 scripts per day would have an average of 17 prescriptions per day to be retrieved for RTS.  An average retrieve time PER prescription is 49.8 seconds. A pharmacy light retrieval system can reduce that time to one min for all 17 retrievals.  


Light Guided Pharmacy Will-Call Retrieval Is Tipping The Scales In Pharmacy Will-Call Automation

Although great strides have been taken in pharmacy automation, the feedback for pharmacy will-call retrieval lights is proving to be a tipping point for pharmacies looking to tip the scales in pharmacy workflow and overall customer service.

“We have invested in multiple technology pieces (ScriptPro robotics, med sync software, etc) to aid in the dispensing process.  I believe our light guided retrieval system has made more difference in the provision of good customer service than any other technology piece we have employed.  Our will-call area is faster, more efficient, more accurate, and more enjoyable for the customer.  We spend much less time looking for prescriptions and more time discussing counseling points with the patients” –Drew Huggins COO DrugCo pharmacies




David vs. Goliath- David Wins! 3 Ways Independent Pharmacies Can Win Against Goliath Chains

big-bussiness-experimentsAn independent pharmacy owner trying to compete and survive against large retail chains can sometimes seem like a David and Goliath scenario. However, David won! How?  by using HIS strength. You are a PART of your community, you live there, you shop there, and you are patrons of other local businesses.   Below are three quick ideas to help independent pharmacies utilize their strength in their community to compete and win against the Goliaths of the market.


1. Network and Outreach:

Network and outreach cost very little other than time but the ROI in vast. If you don’t have the time, hire someone specifically to outreach and network on your behalf. Let your community know who  you are and what you are best at.  Very few businesses grow without ‘salesman’.  Pharmacy is no different.  

                   Outreach and Networking Ideas:  

Local Real Estate Brokers, build relationships with them. Most brokers have a ‘welcome packet’ for new people moving into the area.  Be in the packet with a ‘special offer’ and information about why their neighborhood pharmacy is the right choice

Local businesses  More and more places of business have digital TV running with local information. Ask about running information pieces about your pharmacy, how long you have been serving and living in your community,  what services you offer, who works at the pharmacy etc.  Don’t underestimate the power of ‘local’ or your ‘neighborhood’ pharmacy in your messaging.

Local paper and news station are always looking for stories about their community. Utilize it.

Network with local Dentist, Physicians, Chiropractors, Orthodontist, Pain Clinics, Birthing Centers, Physical Therapy centers etc.  See if they have an advertising pamphlet board or Digital Signage.  Educate them on your services, hours of operations, back to school immunizations and so on. Support thier business in your pharmacy.  Remember, these are COMMUNITY businesses and so are you, work together to support each other.  



  1. How Are You Different? Market That! 

 Most small businesses look at the Goliath and try to be the same. That is not YOUR strength. So, what is? How are you different from the crowd? Do you offer free delivery, bilingual staff, compounding, specialty pet medications, breast-feeding classes and hard-to-find nursing products, diabetes management programs, health fairs, immunization programs etc.  Go to places that it would be beneficial to be aware of these types of services like nursing homes, rehab facilities, programs that work in the Latino community, Lamaze classes. 

  1. Take Advantage of Technology

So many independent pharmacies do not utilize technology that can be working for them at all times.  According to consumer reports, 85% of customers search the internet to find a local business. Can customers find you? Is it clear what services you offer? How do you rate?  If you do not have an up to date, mobile friendly website that clearly states who you are, what you offer and why they should come to you, get one.   unnamed-768x709

There are a vast array of different technology solutions out there to allow pharmacies to achieve their goals.  Improved workflow systems for a automated hang up bag pharmacy  will call system  and  return to stock processes can reduce retrieval times by up to 90% making more time for customer service.  Pharmacy  Digital Signage with Prescription Ready Notifications and customer check-in Kiosk can all but eliminate lines while at the same time educate customers about your services.   Independent pharmacies with the right technology can make the difference and truly help a pharmacy to thrive.

Have more ideas? We would love to hear them!  Please share comments below. 



Four Strategies to Make Customers Your Pharmacy Ambassadors

 Ambassador84% of consumers reported always or sometimes taking action based on personal recommendations. 70% said they did the same of online consumer opinions. [Nielsen]

What does this statistic mean for your pharmacy? You need Ambassadors for your store.  When someone visits your pharmacy for the first time, it’s important to grab their attention with your exceptional service so they are not so easily snatch away by the competition.  But it doesn’t stop there, your services, personal attention and management of waiting areas are all key factors in keeping them coming back.

Here are some simple but powerful strategies to get make customers your Pharmacy Ambassador.


1. Greet Every Customer Instantly 

71% of customers expect assistance within five minutes or less. If they don’t receive it, 48% will not return

Greet customers as they enter your pharmacy and give them direction on check in, wait times, etc.  This is vital to retaining customers. Some pharmacies struggle with effectively managing their service counters due to long lines and waiting areas.  Queue management systems such as check in kiosk and digital signage with prescription ready notifications all but eliminates lines and keeps waiting areas informed. This frees up time for pharmacies to greet customers on arrival, streamline check and reduce interruptions to workflow therefore shortening wait times.


      2. Offer more than they expected

70% of customer experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.  

To convert a new customer to be your Pharmacy Ambassador, exceptional customer service goes beyond a smile and improved wait times.  Pharmacies are taking on a bigger role than filling bottles. Make sure your customers are aware of programs and services your pharmacy provides and how they can benefit.  Digital Displays in your in pharmacy and waiting areas is a low cost effective way to keeping your customers informed. Once you have streamlined your waiting area and check in process, you have the time needed  to get to know your  customer, asses their needs and offer more than expected. 

 3. Use Up-to-Date Technology

Using-up-to-date technology in your pharmacy can drastically improve customer service.  Automating and streamlining processes such as Will Call Bin Management and Return to Stock processes frees up valuable time to spend more time doing things that cannot be automated like customer service.

“Prior to automating our will call it took us about 1-2 minutes to find a correctly filed new or refilled  prescription bag, 5-6 minutes to find a misfiled prescription bag, and 5-7 minutes to find all the prescriptions for patients with multiple bags. Now all the processes above take 15-45 seconds.  I believe our new system has made more difference in the provision of good customer service than any other technology piece we have employed” Drew Higgins, Chief Operating Officer DrugCo pharmacies

4. Reward Customers For Their Loyalty

Don’t take customers loyalty for granted.  There are so many easy ways to say ‘Thank You’ and stand out from the competition.

  1.  Inform your customers about your loyalty programs
  2. Keep them in the loop at check out of any discounts or promotions they can take advantage for that transaction or upcoming promotions
  3. Sign customers up to receive emails, text messages or voicemails to inform them of benefits, upcoming events or promotions for being a loyal customer
  4. Keep your loyalty programs visible in pharmacy. 
  5. Send ‘Thank you for your business’ discount coupons in the mail that are exclusive to loyal customers. 


There you have it! Start turning your customers into Ambassadors for your pharmacy and stand out from the crowd!  If you have ideas share them with us in the comment box below!

Seven Steps Every Retail Pharmacy Manager Should Be Taking

93094_8f301866387fdff56909Anyone working in retail pharmacy has encountered the upset customer that has waited in line for to long. Given the vitality of competition among pharmacies, a customer in a long line is potentially a lost customer.  The primary cause of long customer wait times is the result of poor queue management.  As a pharmacy manager, it is essential to understand how customer satisfaction is influenced by long wait times.

Basic Understanding of Queues

Every queue (line)  has opportunity and cost involved. Your customer, waiting in line, is constantly creating a mental list of all the things he or she might have done rather than idly standing here in wait for their turn. It is the role of the retail store manager to make important decisions to minimize that much despised wait experienced by the customer. This can be done by either adding additional costs of services provided, commonly known as a priority customer, or simply increase the number of checkout and staff to minimize this inherent cost of waiting.


What should retail store managers be doing?


Set benchmarks after determining an acceptable waiting time for all your customers.


Going Digital

Make efficient use of interactive or dynamic display screens to call customers to pick up windows, alert that a prescription is ready, reduce lines at service counters  and divert the customer’s attention from  ‘having-to-wait-in-line’ experience to informing of products and services your pharmacy offers.


Make it a habit to inform your customers as to what to expect beforehand. Using a  Check in Kiosk  pharmacies can instantly check in customers, guide them to the next step, informs them to have a seat and   possible wait time. This allows customers to skip the 'wait in line' experience all together.



Make separate service counters for customers that may need more time with a pharmacist or a consultation.  Using digital signage, you can direct your customers to the proper pick up or service counter. This will automatically reduce the waiting time and customers in the waiting line.



Invest to train employees in customer care. Providing training and implementing customer care systems gives your employees the tools needed to provide consistent above average customer service, keeping your customers loyal and happy


Use of technology

Use innovative technology, such as proper queue management systems and digital signage, will enhance your operational activity and customer satisfaction.



Optimize by making your customers aware of the waiting time via their mobile phones before their arrival in the store. Using an effective IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and texting system keeps your customers in the know and out of lines. 

Pharmacy Queue Management- What Every Pharmacy Should Know

QueueIQ_480x330America’s most common pastime- waiting in line. Wating in lines at retail pharmacy,  is a frustrating yet inescapable part of our lives.

So what is queueing theory? Simply put, queuing theory is the statistical study of queues or waiting lines. When applying queuing theory, a model is being constructed that predicts the queue lengths and the waiting time. It tries to utilize mathematical performance measure and statistical models to assess and improve customer-flow by applying efficient queuing management systems.

In retail pharmacy, queuing management systems can evaluate a whole host of factors such as patient waiting time, prescription fill-time, technicians and pharmacists staffing levels, patients counseling times etc. Queuing theory applications are of particular benefit in retail pharmacies since they facilitate high-volume outpatient workload and also customers looking to get their timely prescriptions filled-in.

Retail pharmacy practicing queue management  can improve customer satisfaction while reducing the waiting-time of the customers. In one publication, Operations Management for Pharmacists, the authors suitably acknowledged the positive impact of using advanced mathematical models used in queuing theory as highly effective.  In other practices by Donehow and his colleagues, he addresses how prescription queues and prescription fill times immensely improved by using queue management systems and recommended that it be readily adopted by retail pharmacies to reorganize the customer flow and channelize their businesses more efficiently. One other publication by Boyce and his colleagues’ sought to identify the impacts of computerized waiting time models on order turnarounds in healthcare. The emphasis was however made on retail pharmacies and how they had a competitive edge when it came to digital signage systems as hospitals don’t consider it a necessity.

Nevertheless, the most important and attractive benefit of applying queue management systems in retail pharmacies is to reduce customer wait time and maximize staff effectiveness.

179768-425x283-customer-satisfactionIn nearly all studies today relating to queue management systems in retail pharmacy, queuing systems are  employed to assess relationships among the prescription dispensing processes, customer waiting in line, customers in the waiting areas, number of staff members, and the time taken to serve each customer. The major factors that influence or enhance efficiently in retail pharmacies include sequencing of work, arrival pattern of prescriptions in the pharmacy and the total number of staff members present. All these and many factors, if taken note of, assist in building customer retention and retain competitive advantage in the pharmacy industry.

The overall goal is to increase the level of satisfaction and find means to sustain it. But that doesn’t only mean the satisfaction levels of the customers alone.  This involves all the relevant groups such as customers, management and employees. This can easily be achieved by putting into practice the theories of queuing in retail pharmacies.

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