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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.  

 

Stand-Out-From-The-Crowd

  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. 

 

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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.

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      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?

Benchmarking

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.

Informing

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.

 

Segmenting

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.

 

Training

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.

 

Optimization

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.

Customer Satisfaction and Queue Management

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How Pharmacy Queue Management Improves Customer Satisfaction

 

 

 Consumer behavior and customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction, the key player in the overall consumer behavior model, is fairly multifaceted since it is influenced by multiple factors and evolves over time. Factors that influence a consumer’s buying behavior may involve their expected and perceived value and their interactions with and attitudes about the services provided.  Expectations relate to the customer’s anticipated beliefs and perceptions about the product or service before interaction. Attitudes relate to the customer’s emotional attachment, tendencies and evaluations he has towards a certain product, developed over time, leading him or her towards attainment of the product or service. And finally, interactions are the decisions customers make concerning their future actions regarding the firm and decide whether or not the overall experience was worth it.

All these factors collectively influence the future actions of the customers. For the most part, all these factors or influences are intangible which means that the perceived performance has a more direct correlation to customer satisfaction than the actual performance.

Pharmacy Queuing Management is one such means to enhance customer experience and improve satisfaction with the services offered.  A happy client means repeat business for the business. Not only will he return again, he will also be involved in spreading positive word about your business through word-of-mouth (free, viral advertising method) but also contribute by increasing revenue, profitability and also a competitive edge for the business.

On the contrary, a not-so-happy or dissatisfied customer will most likely avoid using your service in the future again and also share his bad experience with others using word-of-mouth (again a free advertisement tool), impairing your business image and building a negative impact on your profits and revenues.

Correlation between customer satisfaction and the waiting timeCustomer-Satisfaction

The relationship between pharmacy customer wait times and customer satisfaction is highly important. This means that an increase in the waiting reduces customer satisfaction.  Working to decrease wait times through pharmacy prescription notification Signage and check-in Kiosk makes it possible to decrease the waiting time and keep customer’s expectation and perceived value ratio high, raising overall customer satisfaction.

Nearly 70% of all customers in the waiting line, be it at a restaurant, movie, or retail pharmacy, base their decision to continue using the service or product by evaluating the relationship between customer satisfaction, waiting time, and services.  Also, those who are more anxious might even pay more just to avoid standing in line and waiting. This behavior is most prevalent in retail pharmacies where customers if not provided the expected services never revisit

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Digital Signage and Queue Management Systems

Turning wait times into great times

DisplayRx TestimonialQueue management at point of service retail shops, banks, pharmacies, etc, have been proving to be of great utility in optimizing customer services and time.

So, what happens when you combine Queue Management Systems with Digital Signage? You get highly engaged customers, translating to more repeat clients.

As a retailer, your main task is to keep the customer engaged into some sort of entertainment source. Here are a few examples on how you can make use of digital signage to present a variety of different contents to keep your customer base enticed.

Advertising: Digital Signage employed to transmit messages important to your brand or business such as announcing new products, promotions, sales and discounts, etc.

General: Digital signage can also be resourceful for displaying general information about local news, programs, events etc to provide a means of entertainment to the people in waiting lines.

Business: Presenting the services your business specializes in, featuring the company’s new business hours, explaining how to fill service order forms or request a professional consultation, and so on.

Videos: Digital signage can make the waiting time pleasant by displaying a series of beautiful sceneries, latest songs, or combination of both; could be anything that would entice onlookers while they wait.

6 Vital Roles Digital Signage Fills In Pharmacies and Clinics

Blend

Digital Signage has been revolutionizing the way communication occurs between customers and pharmacy or clinic  staff. Digital signage is now being used to fill vital roles in communication while improving customer privacy.

 

HIPAA Compliant Customer Notifications

Calling names into a waiting area has continued to be frowned upon with privacy issues at the forefront.  DisplayRx digital signage allows pharmacies and clinics to  notify waiting customers and patients  with a private name/number combinations or a queue number adding a layer of privacy while reducing lines and interruptions at service counters.  Pharmacies and clinics are finding digital signage to be vital communication tool.  "DisplayRxTM has completely changed the atmosphere of our lobby. Gone are the days of calling out names. We had tried other methods such as pagers or a number system but nothing can compare to what DisplayRxTM has done for us. It’s simple, elegant and effective"
Ocie Wilson, Pharm D/Pharmacy Director/El Rio Community Health

Informing

 Dynamic signage can easily be updated in real time to help  pharmacies, clinics and hospitals  keep patients and customers in waiting areas informed and up to date on services,  events, products and an introduction of pharmacist, doctors and staff.

"Before DisplayRxTM many patients did not realize the breadth of our services. We now broadcast precise information about what we offer here at La Maestra throughout our three story building. This has been a great benefit to the community by helping to create awareness, encouraging informed communication and improving the patient’s ability to make informed decisions. The ease of using DisplayRxTM meant that we were able to easily and rapidly tailor our messaging specifically to the promotion and benefits of our Patient Portal, resulting in an immediate increase in patient enrollments. By adding DisplayRxTM system to our clinic, I believe we have made a giant step towards spreading our message and services to our patients, and at the same time educating and empowering our patients with knowledge"
Sal Saldivar/Chief Information Officer/ La Maestra Community Health Centers

Quality Control

Combining digital signage with a  queue number notification allows pharmacies and clinics to know when their patient or customer arrived and when they were served and checked out.  This gives valuable insight into the quality of service you facility provides.  "From a management perspective, having access to turn around times helps with our performance improvement and QA goals"
Adria A Kerr, R.Ph./Retail Pharmacy Manager/LSU Health Baton Rouge Mid City

Wayfinding

Finding your way around in health care facilities can be a dreary task, especially if you are in a stressful situation. One of the biggest advantages of digital signage is that it helps with wayfinding. Usually, we witness wayfinding kiosks in healthcare facilities that guide patients to navigate their way without having to rely on directions from others. This is a positive step as it ensures customer satisfaction and also improves the chances of reaching on their appointments in time without have to stop at every turnabout to ask doctors and nurses for directions.

Moreover, digital signage can also help hospital employees to concentrate on their core tasks rather than having to escort visitors and patients towards their destinations.

Emergency Procedure updates

Dissemination of information becomes much more hassle-free with digital signage in case of emergencies such as a fire or other alarming situations in large hospitals. It serves as a lifesaver and a very viable option compared to alarm systems and running about in the hallways shouting ‘fire fire’. Digital signage can also straightforwardly communicate instructions to evacuate the building in such emergency overrides.

Entertainment

Digital signage in waiting areas reduces noise and perceived wait times by providing a form of entertainment.  And because DisplayRx privately displays customer notifications, the digital signage is actually being looked at giving  your facility a powerful advertising tool and information tool.

 

Are Pharmacies & Health Clinics Getting The Queue?

long-wait-times-300x199 Customer care starts and ends with overall experience. Feeling sick or having a loved one sick and waiting for service is one of the number one complaints from customers and patients in pharmacy and health clinics.  Implementing a queue management system in busy pharmacies and clinics drastically improves overall customer experience while streamlining workflow for staff by reducing interruptions at service counters.

 

What Statistics Say, You Need To Hear

Looking at some statistics will give you better idea the importantance to properly manage queue systems efficiently.

Research from Brickstream shows,

  • A customer will start to feel frustrated after 2.5 minutes if there is no apparent progress in the queue.
  • A third of customers report they have abandoned the checkout line when forced to wait for more than 5 minutes.
  • Nearly half of all customers will actively avoid the retailer or brand in the future if the wait in line was longer than 5 minutes.

Given these findings, using efficient queue management systems is an easy and affordable way pharmacies and health clinics can improve customer service and better compete in a market that is  already facing severe competition.   

 

Customer Service and Queuing Systems

Queuing systems can be utilized at different points of service

The Arrival: Arrival of a customer into a busy waiting area is where improved customer service begins.  A self Check-in Kiosk allows customers to quickly check in and have a seat. This system eliminates a line at check in counters, reduces wait times, streamlines workflow and greatly reduces the need for paid staff at check in or service counters, giving clinics and pharmacies an instant and measurable return on investment. 

Service Counters:  Generally in busy waiting areas, there is no Queue Management, just long lines and frustrated customers.  Using Digital Signage to privately alert customers to a service counter with the self Check-In Kiosk, customers are constantly informed, perceived wait times reduced,  stream of information to waiting areas is vastly improved and lines at service counters are all but  eliminated.

Overall Customer Service:  The importance of improved waiting area management and customer service  is something that is still vastly under used in pharmacies and health clinics. However, because Check-in Kiosk and Digital Signage Notifications are being used in a vast number of other industries to better serve it's customers, the gap is growing larger and customers are naturally gravitating to pharmacies and clinics that have a Queue Management System in place that provides better overall customer service.

Return On Investment

With a wide variety of cost options from licensing to subscriptions,  implementing a successful queuing system is both affordable and simple to implement.  The measurable return on investment in queue management has proven time and again that improving overall customer satisfaction  through shorter wait times,  streamlined information, less lines pays off through customer loyalty, more customers served and streamline of workflow for staff.

Lastly,  pharmacies and clinics  need to realize that a customer waiting in line for too long is a lost customer – customers not informed on the products and services provided by your facility, is an  opportunity lost, meaning he/she will probably steer clear of your store in the future. This is why understanding the proper use of  queue management systems in nearly all service industries is becoming more and more demanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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