Last month I introduced a consultation model to underpin a wholly different type of conversation at the health customer serving counters. A conversation, led by the dispensary team member that expands the typically narrow perceived customer to a broader, more complete health consultation. Why is this? Now I don’t profess to be an industry trends expert. All the expertise I get is from the pundits, and the plethora that is conversed at the many industry conferences and written in the multitude of industry journals. But I can read the tea leaves like anyone else.

The obvious message from the Government, the system, is in the way that the balance of remuneration in the health engine room of the pharmacy , is swinging from a heavy weighting on prescription meds dispensing towards more weighting on pharmacist only meds an services. With this swing comes the imperative for every member of team serving at the Script in; Script out; OTC counters or indeed on the floor in the health products aisles to gain the skills to competently and confidently conduct this wider, more holistic conversation – every time; every customer. The only thing that should vary in accord with the ebbs and flows of customer traffic is the speed per customer. Fair to say, most health customers come into the dispensary with this relatively narrow perceived need … “I need to get another repeat”; “I need to get something for this head cold”; I need to drop off my script”. The perceived need is some what transactional …. After all, why wouldn’t it be? Customers have been conditioned this way in most pharmacies.

Winning dispensary teams will develop the skills to gradually re-condition customers to broaden their narrow expectations … Gleefully as they progressively see and feel the benefits of being invited into such consultation. The opportunity is to re-calibrate the health customer visit experience expectation. Segue back to last month and my introduction to the TRAPS model.


  • T= Treat condition
  • R= Relieve symptoms
  • A= Alleviate side effects
  • P= Prevent condition
  • S= Support overall well-being

Imagine a conversation at any of the health customer serving counters that features…

  • Proactively led by the team
  • Skillful timing of questions asked; counsel provided; solutions recommended
  • Moves through a check-list of standardised total solution topics in logical sequence, like TRAPS
  • Importantly, this sort of conversation expands the relatively  narrow need expectation of the customer’s perceived need
  • And is so-doing, provides the pharmacy the best chance of long term customer retention and profitability

Imagine if every first question to ALL customers arriving to the health serving counters had to be an open question- open with open. Imagine if you were permitted another 1-3 Q&As with the main purpose to ascertain the customer’s . Imagine if at this point you had to provide some counsel, some pearl of wisdom in terms of this stage of the consultation. You have now “earned the right” to ask more questions of the customer. Think of this like a bank account analogy …… each time you ask questions and gain information from the customer you are drawing down on your bank balance. Each time you give some counsel, some pearl of wisdom you are depositing back into your bank account. One of the new world prerequisite skills is to keep the bank account in balance as you steer the consultation.

Come back next week to see how.