Image for Pharmacist-s

A Pharmacist's Guide to Customer Retention

Nov 08, 2022

Consumers have several options regarding where to get their prescriptions filled between independent pharmacies, clinics, groceries and big box stores. 

Add on the rapidly growing use of online pharmacies or e-pharmacies, and it's easy to see why now, more than ever, is a critical time for pharmacies to focus on retaining customers. 

Research suggests that it costs businesses six to seven times more to get a new customer than it does to keep the customers they have. 

So, what is the most effective way to build brand loyalty and keep your customers coming back through your pharmacy's doors? 

Creating a solid strategic customer retention plan based on current market trends

We put together this guide to help your pharmacy stand out above the competition and retain your customers. 

What is a customer retention plan?

A customer retention plan refers to a combination of strategies aimed at turning customers into repeat and loyal buyers. The retention plan should have two main objectives:

Forming pharmacy customer loyalty 

Below are top strategies to implement to cultivate strong customer loyalty.

Build strong relationships with your customers

Working in a pharmacy usually means you are always busy doing something, and often customer interaction can be minimal unless you are met with an angry pharmacy customer

However, it's essential to take the time to get to know your customers and listen to what they have to say. Trust is created when your customers feel you care. And trust builds a sense of loyalty to you as their healthcare provider and a business.

It's also important to set expectations with your staff on the level of customer service you want customers to receive. While it's nearly impossible to keep every customer happy all the time, having a customer-focused business means exceptional service from all your staff members. 

Just how important is customer service to your pharmacy's retention plan? One survey found that over 66% of Americans feel customer service is as important as quality and price when deciding on making a purchase. 

Offer more than medications

A 2021 J.D. Power study found that over half of retail pharmacy customers also used their pharmacy for health and wellness services, like vaccinations and routine screenings. 

Pharmacies offering these services have seen better patient outcomes, stronger customer trust and loyalty, and more revenue. The same study found that customers who receive clinical services from their pharmacy spend more than those who don't.  

In addition, with the physician shortage continuing to rise, customers will rely on their pharmacists to play a bigger role in their healthcare. 

Provide flexible options

It's no secret how beneficial telehealth services became during the COVID-19 pandemic. And there's no sign of it going away anytime soon. A recent survey found that almost 90% of people want to continue using virtual visits for non-emergency issues. 

By having the option for telehealth in your pharmacy, you can:

  • extend your pharmacy's services

  • better manage and adjust your staff's schedules 

  • offer convenient and valuable access to the pharmacy for your customers

In addition to telehealth services, offering your customers delivery options can help enhance overall customer care and satisfaction. Same-day medication delivery, drive-thru, and curbside pickup are all options to make it easier for your sick or homebound customers. 

Develop a loyalty program 

A pharmacy loyalty program offers rewards, discounts, and other special incentives to its repeat customers. A study found that 71% of customers who belong to a loyalty program feel that membership is an influential part of their relationship with that business. 

Before you dive into implementing a loyalty system for your pharmacy, you must know who your customers are and what would make them feel appreciated. Remember, the goal is to boost loyalty by rewarding repeat customers while building trust between them and your pharmacy. 

Become the go-to expert 

Recent polls show pharmacists are among some of the most trusted professionals. Around 77% of customers view their pharmacists as integral to their health and well-being. Being viewed as an expert in your field will help you stand apart from your competition. 

What are some ways to become your customer's pharmacy go-to for life? In addition to loyalty programs, health and wellness services, and flexible options that meet the needs of your customers, your pharmacy should also focus on:

  • Reviewing data from your pharmacy POS software to pinpoint best-selling OTC items, like supplements, vitamins, etc. Be sure your store's inventory is updated accordingly.

  • Keeping social media accounts and your pharmacy website up-to-date to stay engaged with your customers and community

  • Offering solutions for issues they may have - for example, paying for a medication not covered by their insurance or suggesting ways to save money on prescriptions

Final thoughts

Technology, consumer experience, and the pandemic have changed how many businesses run, including pharmacies. Knowing your customers and creating a strong retention plan can help you overcome the challenges these changes bring and cultivate a loyal customer community. At CareCard, our mission is to help make prescription payments more affordable, saving members up to 85% on prescription drugs and medications. Learn how your pharmacy can partner with CareCard to make your customer's medication payments more manageable.