Make professional services a success in your pharmacy: first steps

Stephenie Shea
Stephenie Shea

It’s one thing to implement professional services, but another thing entirely to make them really work, writes Stephenie Shea

There was a resounding message from APP this year – that pharmacies should be actively offering professional services in their store. We’ve heard it for years now, but with the erosion of dispensary margin getting larger with every price disclosure cycle and retail competition being tougher than ever, it’s apparent that every pharmacy needs to invest their resources into professional services.

Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. There are so many options and while it may seem ideal to offer a large variety of services, there lies the potential downfall of not implementing and providing an effective professional service across the board.

I believe there are three key steps to providing a successful service in your pharmacy:

Appointing a champion to head the service

While it’s important to involve all staff to ensure everyone is aware of the service and working together as a team, appointing one staff member to be the ‘champion’ often sees the service being driven to success.

The ‘champion’ can be the pharmacist or pharmacy intern, who focuses on the successful delivery of the service by ensuring it is kept on track, responsible for progress updates at staff meetings, and conducting regular reviews on its success.

Setting goals and KPIs and tracking them regularly

Setting targets for your store is important to ensure the team is focused on achieving the results for the service.

Setting small, daily steps and keeping team members accountable for their daily targets are easier to achieve than a large, monthly goal.

For example, a store could set up a chart in the dispensary for inhaler technique checks. Aiming for one interaction a day for each staff member could lead to 10 checks a week for the pharmacy.

Ensure the whole pharmacy team is trained and aware of the services offered

The appointed champion of the professional service should ensure that all staff members are trained and aware of the service offered at the pharmacy. This includes pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, and front of shop staff.

While professional services typically occur at the back counter and professional area, the promotion of your pharmacy’s professional service at the cash and wrap counter should not be dismissed.

Front shop staff should be ready to provide a quick overview to customers of the features and benefits of the service offered in a few short sentences.

I believe these key points make for a great framework for pharmacy’s to begin offering their professional services effectively and tailored for their customer base to provide better health outcomes that will impact the greater community.

Stephenie Shea is a qualified pharmacist and National Professional Services and Pharmaceuticals Manager for Discount Drug Stores Franchise Support Office.

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