Show appreciation for your customers this Valentine’s Day

SRRX – 282 – January 2019_Patient Appreciation

Your positive sentiment will lead to more loyalty for your pharmacy

In brief:

  • Customers who feel appreciated are more loyal and buy more goods.
  • Showing your appreciation can be cost effective.
  • Small tokens of appreciation and sincere actions can reap big rewards.

“How do you feel when someone appreciates you for the effort you make? It feels, nice, doesn’t it? That’s the feeling you want your customers to associate with you.” Those words are found on a customer service blog1 and they apply perfectly to your independent pharmacy.

Patients want to feel special

If you take customers for granted, they’ll take their business elsewhere. When customers stop visiting a business, 68% say it’s because they feel the business didn’t care about them.2

While gaining new customers is important, your loyal customers not only buy more from your pharmacy than new customers do, but they also refer more people.

Appreciation starts with great service

How you treat your customers matters: 76% of customers say the quality of customer service shows whether a company values them.3

  • Remember simple courtesies, such as saying “please” and “thank you.” Customers are 15% more likely to open an email with “Thanks” or “Thank You” in the subject line.4
  • Go the extra mile for customers, even if it’s only your parking lot. If you don’t have a drive-through, tell a parent picking up a prescription with a sick child that you’ll bring it out to their car. Invest in a huge umbrella so you can walk older customers to their cars on rainy days.

Make interactions personal

Show customers they’re more than just a prescription to you.

  • Use their names during conversations and personalize marketing materials when possible.
  • Follow up after a sale with a call to ask how they are doing and whether a prescription is working.
  • Ask for their advice, such as products they would like you to carry. Or, ask what you can do to improve their experience in your pharmacy.
  • Share a success. With a customer’s permission, share a story of having had positive impact. For example, a social media post might say, “Cheryl told us she loves this new supplement we offer. You might like it, too.” Or, “Paul likes picking up all of his medications once per month; we can do this for you as well.”
  • Send handwritten messages from your staff, such as birthday or Valentine’s cards. When a patient passes away, send the family a sympathy card.

Small tokens of appreciation reap big rewards

Providing meaningful tokens of appreciation to customers doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. One study found that restaurant customers who received a small token when they arrived, such as a key chain, spent 46.4% more than customers who didn’t receive one.5 You can do something similar.

  • Keep your name in front of customers. Products with your store name and logo area great way to reward customers. Before Small Business Saturday, Small Town Pharmacy in Norristown, Pennsylvania, gave away branded tote bags.
  • Support the community. Hayden Health Mart in Hayden, Alabama,closed half an hour early for the town Christmas parade, inviting customers to use its parking lot and pick up free hot chocolate.

Gibson Heath Mart in WaKeeney, Kansas, made its sponsorship of a local basketball tournament a triple win by giving away tickets. The pharmacy supported student athletes, helped pack the gym and rewarded its customers. (See below)

  • Offer VIP opportunities. Invite special customers to free education sessions or an exclusive, after-hours preview party and sale before the next holiday shopping season.
  • Surprise them. You don’t have to publicize and promote every reward. Delight customers by occasionally giving them something special on the spot, perhaps one free greeting card when they are buying five.

Look for ways in every interaction to thank customers. Even the voice mail message on your phone can remind them, “We appreciate your business.” When you show your customers that you care, it will be reciprocated many times over.

1 “What Is a Customer Appreciation Strategy, and Why Do I Need One?” Toma Kulbyte, SuperOffice, May 16, 2018. LINK
2 “How to Gain Customer Appreciation – And Why You Should,” Larry Alton, Small Business Trends, Jan 16, 2018. LINK
3 “The Aspect Consumer Experience Index: Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations,” Aspect Software and The Center for Generational Kinetics, April 2015. LINK
4 “Emails That Say Thanks Get More Opens, Clicks,” Joel Rothman, Oracle Modern Marketing Blog, Nov. 26, 2012. LINK
5 “The Art and Science of the Small Business Thank You,” Lisa Hephner, PaySimple. LINK