Before I delve into the main message I want to pass across, let me first of all acknowledge that setting sales targets in community pharmacies and by extension any other business helps to define and streamline the way the business operates.
Targets define clearly the short term and long term financial goals of the business. It also gives everyone a direction and equally makes employees to sit up.
However, the recent practice of setting targets in community pharmacies seems to defeat this goal. The practice (especially in Lagos, Nigeria), now entails slashing the salary of employees of the pharmacy (Pharmacists and Pharmacy assistants) if they fail to meet the desired targets set by the pharmacy owner.
This practice makes a total ridicule of pharmaco-economic aspect of pharmaceutical care as emphasized in mainstream pharmacy practice.
Pharmacists and Pharmacy assistants in a bid not to take a pay cut are now saddled with the responsibility of stuffing the basket of clients and patients with both relevant and irrelevant drugs and supplements. Eventually, this on it’s own becomes a drug therapy problem.
The obvious drug therapy problem here is unnecessary drugs. As a result, there is bound to be wastage and an end effect on the patient’s finances. Monies that would have been employed into more meaningful ventures have now been used to acquire drugs which add little or no value to the patient’s health condition.
There is also a chance of non-compliance. This is because when one patient is made to take several drugs and supplements for just one condition, there is a high chance of getting overwhelmed in the long run. Who wouldn’t be?
The collateral effect of this mindless target setting is a total loss of interest and confidence on the pharmacy profession by the public. They begin to see pharmacies as money milking centers and not where they can go in and get the help they need.
Pharmacy owners may indeed need to re-strategize and come up with better approaches to drive sales and add value.
That being said, this is also a time to talk to young pharmacists as well…
Hello young Pharmacists, please wake up. The promises that once you finish pharmacy school, money will start falling into your account is false. Even when it does, you have to work extremely hard for it.
When you’re employed in a community pharmacy, without being told and without any rules given to you, there are two things you must strive to do
- Device means to add value to the business
- Develop a pattern that helps influence increase in sales and profits.
Come to think about it, this is a personal business and not a charity organization. It puts food on people’s table, you need to do better, don’t you?
Therefore, here are a few ways you can add value to the community pharmacy you work for and still drive more sales.
Create a rapport and establish trust with your clients.
To do this, take your time to counsel as much patients as you come across. Tell them the truth about their medical conditions, medications and expected side effects. Advise them on lifestyle modifications, home remedies and never fail to tell them when they don’t necessarily need drugs.
When you create this trust, they will see you as their personal pharmacist and the pharmacy you work for as their own. Once they need drugs or medication advice, you will be topmost on their mind.
Create an achievable pharmaceutical care plan
One simple plan that can be adopted in community pharmacies is a follow up. In this plan, you should have the bio data of your clients and patients.
Get the contacts of patients with chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or even those that came in to get some antimalarial or flu medications. Put a call across after a few days and check up on them.
You will realize that they are either feeling better or that they need more specialized care. Whichever way it is, you’re there to help and guide. No one forgets who was there for them through difficult times.
Device a means to do home deliveries for patients
Most persons are becoming lazy and want services to be brought to their door step. We in the pharmaceutical sector can tap into this and begin home deliveries for patients, for their prescription refills, as well as for other OTCs. By doing this, you not only make sales, you create loyalty to your brand.
Treat your clients as kings and queens.
Make your patients have a feeling that they are cared for and truly give a listening ear to their complaints no matter how funny or irrational you think they are.
Not everyone drew the Renin-Angiotensin pathway with you in school; as such don’t expect everyone to know what you know. Come down to your patient’s level, talk to them kindly and win their hearts. Your sales will thank you for that.
Don’t always take and take from your community. Encourage your employer to organize avenues where customers can get gifts for their patronage and loyalty to the pharmacy. No matter how small it may be, it will be appreciated.
Market nutritional supplements relevant to a patient’s condition.
Granted that Pharmacy school didn’t expose us much to this supplements and their use, do not fail to master them. Learn the specific brands in your premises and if possible take a step forward to learn about beauty supplements and similar products too.
Clients will not excuse your ignorance on these products; they will keep asking you questions about them. Your employer will not excuse the fact that Professor Ray did not teach you that in Pharmacology as well.
Hence, master these supplements and know when to recommend to your patients. You will not only boost sales, you will also achieve good therapeutic results.
Feel free to use the comment section to suggest other ways you feel value can be added to community pharmacies, without setting ridiculous targets and slashing the salary of the staff.
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