First , you will need to define and articulate your new forward pharmacist service model at the dispensary. Then get the fundamentals of the structural change underway, which will require physicals; people; process; product (the 4Ps). Then overlay the fundamentals of the strategy change.

Convert customers to stay -> convert stay to engaged -> convert engaged to counsel -> convert counsel to solution conversation. The analogy here is to liken the 4Ps and the 4Cs to the AFL. Chemists become the full and centre half forwards; Techs becomes the full and centre half backs; Pharmacy assistants becomes the midfielders – bringing everyone including the customers into the play.

The analogy now is to liken this toe-to-toe nose-to-nose set up of team members and customers at right place, right time for right engagement. That’s all well and good, but if those concerned – chemists, pharmacy assistants and any team member are not competent and confident to proactively lead a total, integrated health conversation every time that goes beyond the customer’s usual perceived narrow need and reason for coming to the pharmacy, then all the hard work from previous stages will only ever deliver modest results.

The challenge is in inculcating the mindset to host this total health solution conversation as a point of differentiation as judged by the customer. Now just to contextualise my upcoming assertions, allow me to declare, I am not a pharmacist, have never been to pharmacy college. I have never dispensed a script. Depending on your perspective, I am lucky enough to have been brought up in a corporate sales environment where I had the pre-requisite skills taught to me and drummed in from the get go. I have been told numerous times by pharms that the skills to host such a conversation with aplomb are not part of the upbringing into retail pharmacy

The good news is that skills required are not hard to learn. In fact there are only 4 you need to master:

  • Asking the right questions
  • Asking them the right way
  • Selping (selling when you are helping the customer) the right solutions
  • Selping them the right way

Apple has taught us – engagement is king and hosting is an honour. To apply that philosophy at the dispensary service counters , the challenge in the hurly burly of retail dispensary with the health customer is when time and willing hands are short. But, look at what the front-of-shop retail assistants are taught as companion product / total solution teach aids – the “Over under off” trilogy.

Turning to the health customer , we have heard the “Before during after” trilogy.

Imagine a conversation the runs through a mental checklist:

  • Treat
  • Alleviate
  • Prevent
  • Enhance
  • Support