Anyone 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.
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.