Last month I spoke about the consistent change phases that characterise the journey undertaken by otherwise disparate pharmacies, as they embark on the journey towards a tailored forward dispensing service model. I reflected on the interest that this topic generated at a recent workshop I was involved in and privileged to share the stage with long standing industry experts Hilary Kahn (Frontline Strategies), Mike de Gama (Nostra data), Frank Sirianni (Medici Capital) and Peter Saccasan (RSM Bird Cameron- seminar sponsors). At The Next Level, we are seeing and hearing a gradual awakening amongst early adopter pharmacies in terms of the need to change the service model at the health counters.

Some have had the ruler run over their dispensary service so as to get a handle on current reality of service performance. Some have not. Maybe it is the settling down of 6CPA; the advice from respective accounts regarding the amount of pain still to come from PBS reform. It will probably be a number of casusative drivers. If you are feeling the need for change, you will know what is driving that in your own situation. However, deep entrenched processes, practices and behaviours are hard to change. There will always be days, weeks, even months where you will feel like you are taking 3 steps backward for every 2 steps forward.

Every team is different…. every change journey is different, but the pioneering pharmacies have taught us that there are common success signposts (or change phases) that mark the journey. Its all about reinventing the service model to a high engagement, high counsel, high solution conversation forward service model to maximise the customer’s holistic solution in terms of why they are visiting and thereby maximise the pharmacy’s profitability.

Firstly the awareness and awakening phase. Any team, be it your dispensary team, the sales teams of pharmaceutical manufacturers that visit pharmacies, even your favourite elite sporting team (be it AFL, NRL or cricket) will benefit from regular, objective measurements across a good range of behaviours and inputs. The power of good data, to tell us what we do well, what we do not so well, how we compare/ benchmark is incredibly important. It is nigh on impossible in the cauldron of hurly burly, day to day life in the dispensary to objectively make such assessments. This power of good data helps unlock perceptions and conventional wisdoms and promote the prerequisite awareness and awakening of different ways to operate. With the hearts and minds primed for change, then you and the team can debate, articulate and document the new service vision.

To borrow a Stephen Convey-ism…begin with the end. With your team, write your new vision….what it will deliver from customer perspective, and what it will look like for all members of the dispensary team. Then you are ready for your next phase.

As John Koot has taught us for a long time now, to “live” your vision you must next move to re-think, re-design and re-layout your dispensary to facilitate to forward orientation of chemists and the high engagement/counsel/solution conversations. At TNL, we call it the 4 Ps and this phase features the thinking around…

  • Physicals
  • People
  • Process
  • Product

As Bruce Annabel has taught us also for a long time, chemists should hand out all scripts at “script out” with appropriate counsel and chemists should be banned from the dispensary (set up the meds, checking terminals and station adjacent to the dispensary).

As Nick Logan and Alison Roberts have taught us, as you reset your 4 Ps for alignment to your new forward service model, then prepare to start your next parallel phase involving your customer’s journey. At The Next Level, we call it the 4 Cs and just as the 4 Ps is about repositioning the people in your team to be in the right place at the right time, then the 4 Cs is about bringing your customers on the journey too, and helping them to be in the mirror image right place at the right time too. The 4 Cs…

  • Convert customers to stay
  • Convert stay to engaged
  • Convert engaged to counsel
  • Convert counsel to solution sale conversation

As Apple has taught us, engagement is king and hosting is a privilege. Bring the vision together with your optimised 4 Ps and 4 Cs in such a way as when you commence engagement of a health customer, never turn your back to go get something; never disengage. Think about your experience in an Apple store!

Now that you have got the right people in the right place at the right time doing the right things, you are half way towards living your vision! You are ready to introduce your next parallel phase. At The Next Level, we call it the sales conversation upskilling piece… and that, dear readers, will be the segue to next month’s instalment.