Creating Customer Centricity
A significant number of pharmacies would emphatically answer ‘yes’ when asked if they put the customer at the centre of what they do. In most circumstances, staff are focused on selling products and providing good customer service during a sales interaction, however this does not equate to being customer centric.
Understanding what your customers want is an imperative for community pharmacy. However, quite often pharmacies focus purely on customer touch points, such as individual transactions, and therefore can sometimes miss the bigger picture; which is the customer’s end-to-end experience. In a pharmacy context, the customer experience can be seen to start outside the pharmacy, for example when a health condition prompts a visit to the doctor, that single visit may not be the full resolution, so the experience doesn’t end until the issue is treated or resolved e.g. at a specialist or upon receiving medicine at the pharmacy. Understanding the role, the pharmacy plays in the ‘complete’ journey and seeing it in context of the customer’s situation, can help staff to provide better service, better solutions, more effective communications and develop a long-term relationship with a customer, rather than a series of transactions.
There are a number of tools to assist a business in improving their customer focus, one of which is an effective loyalty program that influences customer purchasing behaviour and creates a situation of true loyal behaviour towards the pharmacy. A true loyalty program has the systems and structures in place to tier customers based on their value to the business, have the ability to communicate and effectively influence customer behaviour accordingly and provide the data and actionable information to provide real insights about your customers which can lead to true customer centricity. It can assist in developing health literacy and health care solutions as a more sophisticated means of selling services and products.
A loyalty program should:
- Reward the most valuable of your loyal customers
- Retain existing customers
- Acquire new customers
- Reactivate customers: bringing back former customers
- Increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
- Develop relationships
- Build referrals
- Focus on product and category management
There are also distinct phases of a loyalty program that you need to consider:
- Strategy & Structure: Begin with the end in mind – what are the program objectives and how success will be measured.
- Operational Performance: The next phase is to ensure your staff support and understand the loyalty focus as good execution at a pharmacy level is imperative.
- Engaging Members: Ensuring the program gets the attention of members and is engaging.
- Marketing Communication: The next stage is to ensure the program branding is appropriate and professional.
- Reporting & Business Intelligence: Ensure there are appropriate benchmarks and the ability to measure program performance.
Customer-centricity should be something every pharmacy should consider. Once you start looking at the customer journey, the insights you discover can then inform each of your decisions, from attracting certain staff, undertaking training, merchandising strategies and certainly targeted marketing and communications.