The right service model

How to get professional service right in six easy steps. Glenn Guilfoyle explains (part 2)

Click here for part one of this article

Step 4 – do another observational, manual sample count over another few days…….simply counting script customer visits vs OTC customer visits. 

Remember to count a script customer who breaks their dispense into two visits as a half.

Let’s say you end up with an anticipated ratio of something around 4 script customer visits to 1 OTC. 

Now you can convert your OTC basket size result from above and normalise it to “per script customer visit”. For example, if your version of the national average from above (1.18) is actually 1.2, then divide that by 4 (for the four-to-one ratio) to give you 0.3 non-script health products from OTC customer visits, but translated to per script customer visit.

Step 5 – run your annual non-script health products volume, and divide it by your script customer visit number (your version of the 50,000 from above). So, 100,000 such items / 50,000 script customer visits = 2. The national average is again, coincidentally 1.9.  See how you compare.

Step 6 – Now you have mathematical magic at your fingertips. If I now assemble all the example numbers converted to “per script customer visit” from above, I derive a total of 2 non-script health products sold per script customer visit (see immediately above), which is contributed to by:

  • Script counter conversations between staff and script customers , contributing 0.3 (rounding up the 0.29 from above) 
  • OTC counter conversations between staff and customers, contributing another 0.3 to the total
  • By derivation then 1.3 products are generated from the aisles, more often than not by self-generating customers, making up the balance of the total 2 per script customer visit

So, why is this set of numbers magic to you, and what does it have to do with my heading “professional service” vs “professional services”?

  • Knowing how your score on each of these four metrics compares to national average can indicate where you are over-; on-par; and under-performing at each critical location.
  • Knowing how your “mix” compares. For example: how much volume is coming from self selection vs counter conversation can indicate how well your strategy aligns with your reality. For example, a non-discount, professional services pharmacy would likely look for a higher than average proportion of the mix to come from staff:customer counter conversations.

Regardless of your analysis and assessment on both these fronts, I define “professional service” as the confidence and competence of pharmacists to extend reacting and responding in their conversations at the service counters to meeting customer perceived needs into exceeding customer expectations and providing a fuller solution than the customer’s anticipate. 

Script customer add-ons and OTC basket size of S3/S2/unscheduled medicines is a very good proxy to the product-based part of the more complete solution and therefore “professional service”. 

And at the current benchmarks – 0.29 per script customer visit and 1.18 per OTC customer visit – I think we are significantly and unwittingly missing the opportunity of  dramatically improving “professional service”.

Glenn Guilfoyle is Principal of the The Next Level, providing advice on better systems and sales for community pharmacy 

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