By Barb G. for our 99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy blog series

As much as having the right product assortment arranged to easily shop your departments and pricing items competitively helps with customer loyalty, so too does having convenient hours for your customers to shop.

People are busier and busier, resulting in less free time. In years past, people would spend Saturdays doing their chores and errands, while Sundays were reserved for church and family dinner. Nowadays many people are spending their nights or weekends sitting on the sidelines watching their children play team sports, taking college courses, or working longer hours completing extra tasks as a result of downsizing. This means fitting in the need to run their errands when they can.

find out when customers want to shopThese errands include visits to your pharmacy. Are you available for your customers when they need you? This doesn’t mean you need to be open 24/7 on the off chance someone may stop in, but you may want to rethink your store hours based on your customers’ shopping habits. Are there times when it’s just you and your employees in the store? Though it’s great for getting things done, it isn’t benefiting those who shop at your store.

To see if a store hour adjustment is needed, try logging when your customers are shopping for a two week period to find out when they are coming in. You may think you have an idea, but unless you have the results in black and white you don’t really know. You could ask your customers to complete a short satisfaction survey that includes a question about the blocks of time they usually shop. The results not only give you information about shopping times, they can also help improve other areas in your store.

You should also pay attention to nonverbal and verbal cues. Do your customers seem to be rushing in at closing time? If you don’t currently stay open into the evening, consider closing later one night during the week. Do they come in on Monday saying they tried coming in on Sunday to find you were closed? If you hear this comment more and more often, you may want to open for limited hours on a Sunday to accommodate them.

Adding hours might not be in your budget, so you may need to adjust the time your store opens. You also don’t want to alienate those who like to stop by first thing in the morning. If there’s a day of the week when customers tend to come in a little later, consider opening later that day.

If you decide to change your hours, don’t forget to let your customers know. Post signs on entrance and exit doors, at the pharmacy counter, and cash registers. Bag stuffers are also great reminders that can be posted by your customers at home for easy reference.

Listening to your customers shows you are putting them first.

As a client services representative, Barb supports both internal and external clients and is one of the first points of contact for both. She is a liaison between healthcare distributor clients, retail clients, manufacturers, and POS vendors.

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