Resolution: Get to know my customers better

April 4, 2017By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies

By Michele Feldner, category analyst, for the Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies blog series

Getting to know your customers better is a goal to always strive toward because it will provide long-lasting benefits. Once a relationship is built with someone, they’re more likely to become regular customers, and having a strong foundation of loyal customers is necessary for businesses of all sizes to survive and thrive.

Building one-on-one relationships is a key advantage you can leverage to compete with mass retailers, chain drugstores, and e-commerce outlets. Your relationships with customers set you apart. We saw this in our survey of independent pharmacy shoppers a few years ago and I personally heard it over and over in the independent pharmacies I visited: the top reason patrons told us that they shop at independent drugstores is because of their trust in and relationship with the pharmacist and associates. We also see it in the annual survey of consumers about the most trusted healthcare professionals – pharmacists are always near the top of the list.get to know my customers better

So how can you go about getting to know your customers better? Think about your customer interactions. No matter how big or small, every encounter can help you get to know them better. Start by learning and then greeting them by name. Make small talk while being mindful of their time. Ask them if you can assist them with anything without being intrusive. Suggest products that will help them recover or feel better.

Personal recommendations go a long way. When you know your customers well, you can make more knowledgeable suggestions for items you believe will improve their well-being. While it’s nice that e-commerce sites provide suggestions of other products the shopper may be interested in, when someone you know tells you that they’ve used a product and they recommend it based on their experience, it means much more. Wouldn’t you rather take a recommendation from someone you trust and rely on?

Make sure your staff is aware that knowing your customers better is a priority. Realizing that your staff typically has projects they need to complete – sometimes by the end of their shift – make sure they don’t sacrifice providing great customer service to complete the task at hand. Remind them that without your customers, you’re sunk. It’s more important to help the people that are there in front of you, in your store, in person, than dusting, stocking, or speaking to whomever is on the phone. It’s also important that if your staff doesn’t know the answer to a customer’s question, they find an answer and follow through.

My last suggestion will let your customers know that they are valued and will strengthen their loyalty to your store: always thank every customer at the end of a sale. There are so many other retail outlets they could chose to go to instead of yours, including online, that making sure they know that you appreciate their business is important.

Make the most of your interactions with your customers to become more familiar and friendly with them. Getting to know your customers better will pay off in tangible and intangible ways, ultimately with a positive impact on your business.