Design a professional waiting area by Dave Wendland for our 99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy series

Hey, what are you waiting for? You’ve changed your exterior signs. You’ve completely remerchandised your front-of-store. And you’ve even sent your pharmacy team for additional training. But you forgot one very important area of your operation – your waiting area.

There are two aspects of the waiting area that I will briefly address in this post: 1) the experience, and 2) merchandising.

First the experience. I have literally visited thousands of independent pharmacies throughout my 24 years in the industry and still shudder when I see disheveled furniture, hard-seated benches, and lackluster waiting areas. Why? Because patients who have elected to honor you with their loyalty are being asked to endure something practically unforgiveable. And it is that experience which leaves a lasting impression.

Imagine it this way. If you were invited to your best friend’s home and they offered you a steel folding chair would it change your opinion of what that friend thinks of you? Why is the experience any different in your pharmacy with your patients – your friends?

The second area to consider is merchandising. An exercise that I invite pharmacists to conduct when I visit is very simple – it’s called the 180° test. Facing the pharmacy and presuming the waiting area is within proximity to that area, turn in a semi-circle making note of all merchandising that is in view. Does it say “healthcare?” Is it presented in a compelling and inviting way? If not, you failed the test.

The same test should be conducted when sitting in your pharmacy waiting area. What merchandise is in clear line of sight? Are you inviting patients to become acquainted with the merchandise and potentially add on to their order while waiting for their prescription? If not, you’re missing sales opportunities…and you have a captive audience nonetheless.

One final idea. We had the pleasure of working with a terrific independent pharmacy who asked us to “think outside the box.” We suggested two separate waiting areas within their store in two separate locations. The result? Some patients gravitated to the natural supplement and homeopathy area while some elected to sit in the home care area. Sales increased in both areas.

So, I ask again, what are you waiting for?

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