What do your patients remember about you?

pharmacist illustration

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you memorable, writes Vanessa Lontos

Recently while on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Sydney, I was sitting in my seat reading my book. Engrossed in the story, I hadn’t noticed the lights were dimmed and the cabin had become quite dark. 

I kept reading, albeit very uncomfortably. After a few moments, I felt one of the flight attendants reach over my head and switch on the little reading light above my head.  

Suddenly my entire experience of the flight felt very different and it ultimately left quite an impression on me.

Now this may seem like a simple gesture but it had a significant impact because I felt valued. And although I didn’t know it at the time, I now had a very clear understanding of what it feels like to be part of the experience economy. 

Harvard Business Review contributor and author of “The Experience Economy,” Joseph Pine, defines the experience economy as “a company that intentionally uses its services as the stage, and goods as the props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event”.

Pine explains in simple terms, that means “people don’t care if they buy the red toothpaste or the blue toothpaste as long as they have a meaningful experience… goods are tangible, services intangible, while experiences are memorable’”. 

So how can you embrace these ideas and make the experiences in your pharmacies memorable? Here are three tips:

  1. Know the business that you’re in

Stephen Scott Johnson, organisational change expert and author of “Emergent” says, ‘“ike isn’t in the business of selling shoes, they are in the business of getting people active”. This is so simple and so true. Look beyond the goods and services you offer and into the heart of your pharmacy business.  You are in the business of helping patients feel better in a meaningful way.

  1. Focus on your patient’s individual needs

Historically in pharmacy we have engaged in conversations with our patients in very much the same way, regardless of the type of patient we are speaking with. For example a young person on Crestor gets the same information as the older person on Crestor. And while some of the information we provide needs to be clinically consistent across both groups, both these people are very different.  To make an interaction meaningful look for ways you can tailor your advice to that specific person.   

  1. Find easy ways to be remembered

Endeavour to simplify and personalise your patient experiences as much as possible.  Notice something about your patients to make them feel more comfortable, seen, heard or better understood. Engage your feelings when interacting with your patients because ultimately, it’s in the way you make someone feel that will determine what they remember about you.

Vanesa Lontos qualified as a pharmacist in 2002 from Monash University, and has over 15 years’ experience in community pharmacy, including being a pharmacy owner and pharmacy consultant.  Vanessa is passionate about upskilling pharmacists in areas of patient engagement to improve the patient experience and promote better health outcomes in community pharmacy. Vanessa is currently implementing the LEAPP Dispensary Excellence program across the Sigma pharmacy network. In its inaugural year, The LEAPP Program was launched at the Retail Conference in March this year.  Vanessa is Sigma’s Dispensary Learning and Development Specialist.

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