Customer engagement can bring big benefits to your business — from increased brand awareness and trust, to improved customer retention and loyalty. Each customer interaction must be memorable — whether in person or virtual — and you must have a customer engagement strategy to reap the rewards of long-term engagement, loyalty, and advocacy towards your business.

If you’re relatively new to the concept of customer engagement, start with four objectives — intimacy, interaction, involvement, and influence. These four objectives get to the heart of what customer engagement is about and what it aims to do. If you try to incorporate these factors into every aspect of your business, you are likely to see customer engagement levels soar.

Offer customers an experience

Customer engagement and customer experience are fundamentally linked — you cannot have one without the other. A growing number of businesses see customer experience as their key differentiator. Engage customers and deliver an experience that is positive and memorable.

Deliver excellent customer service consistently

Good customer service is essential for retailers to flourish, and customers will buy from a retailer again after receiving good service from an employee. Customer service interactions play a key role in helping customers develop active relationships with a business — an important ingredient for engagement to occur.

Invest in recruiting, training, and retaining the most engaged employees, and you’ll see a positive impact on your customer service. Your employees play an important role in building customer engagement.

Personalize your interactions with customers

A personalized customer experience can increase sales and boost customer engagement. Customers like it when they receive personalized messages and offers. Deliver targeted messages to your customers that address their specific interests and needs.

Create a conversation

With the digital era, customers have limited attention spans. The aim of customer engagement is to develop a mutually beneficial, ongoing relationship between a customer and your business. By developing conversations — rather than simply sending messages — you can build a community of customers who actively engage with your business.

Give customers the chance to become brand advocates

Converting customers into brand advocates attracts and engages new customers and increases engagement levels among existing ones. For example, encourage your customers to become brand advocates by providing them with loyalty program incentives.

Create a customer-friendly journey

Today’s customer can sail between a retailer’s website, social media, and brick and mortar store seamlessly while looking for information. Keep your customers engaged and focus on the complete customer journey to create a connected experience.

Analyze data and gain valuable insights

By analyzing relevant data, you can gain valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t. Use this knowledge to shape and adjust your customer engagement strategy. Creating a great customer engagement strategy is key to closing a sale and building customer loyalty.

You need to know your customers better and understand and measure their behaviors at every touch point. Today’s customers have more power and choice than ever before. Customers are more likely to do business with a company that offers a smooth, personalized, and memorable experience. If you deliver on your engagement strategy effectively, you will increase customer loyalty and gain more wallet share.

Complete the form below to gain instant access and learn how three pharmacy retail businesses are using the latest technology from Epicor Software to manage their customer engagement strategy and grow their business.

Case Study #1

Shrivers Pharmacy | Epicor® Eagle® Helps Improve Customer Service and Loyalty Program

In 1979, the first Shrivers Pharmacy opened in McConnelsville, Ohio. Since then, Shrivers has added eight locations across Ohio and one in West Virginia. Under the leadership of the current owner, John Coler, the company remains an independently owned and locally operated pharmacy dedicated to the communities it serves.

Shrivers Pharmacy provides easy access to pharmacists and quick answers to any customer prescription or over-the-counter medication questions. The company went live on Epicor Eagle software in 2011 in order to improve customer service, reporting, and their loyalty program. “At that time, we were with our previous point of sale provider, and we felt like we had an average or slightly above average system,” said Sean Jones, director of retail operations for Shrivers Pharmacy.

“When we saw the Epicor Eagle demo, we were able to see firsthand what we were missing out on. This — coupled with what we felt was poor reporting capabilities — led to mediocre customer service and an outdated loyalty program from our previous solution provider. It helped make the decision to make a change much easier.”

Making The Daily Tasks Easier

“Epicor makes my job and the jobs of our management staff easier for a variety of reasons,” said Jones. “The ability to export reports into an Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet is a huge help. We can make universal changes from one location and roll them out to all the other stores without having to visit each store individually.”

Improving Pickup Efficiency

“We can scan prescriptions now, which saves time, because the cashier doesn’t have to manually enter several different Rx numbers and dollar amounts,” Jones continued. “Plus, on our Epicor system, if a customer has multiple prescriptions ready to be picked up, it will show all the prescriptions each individual customer has that are ready to be picked up. This is very advantageous, because when the first prescription is scanned at the register, it alerts the employee about the other prescriptions. This helps our customer to not only get the prescriptions they came to pick up, but to also get multiple prescriptions if they are ready but had been placed in different bags.”

Better Inventory Control

“Epicor is clearly ahead of the pack. Our company really benefits from the vast functionality of the point of sale as well as the backroom functionality with inventory control and electronic record preservation. These key features really help us prosper as a business,” said Jones.

“We also no longer have a need to keep a paper version of the pseudoephedrine (PSE) log for customers to sign — the system does it all for us,” he added. “Therefore, we don’t have to keep signed copies of credit card receipts or house

charge slips anymore. This saves time and gives us confidence if we ever need to go back looking for a signature because of a prescription audit. I know we can find it. I remember in the past we’ve had to sort through prescription pickup logs for patient signatures. We don’t have to do that anymore — all of those records are stored within the system and are easily accessible should the need ever arise to view or print them in the future.”

A Loyalty Program That Stacks Up To The Big Stores

As part of the HealthMart network, Shrivers can offer the comfort and convenience of a local pharmacy while providing a high-class loyalty program, competitive prices, and the quick, easy pharmaceutical access of a large chain. Shrivers has found that more than 75 percent of their registered loyalty customers have made purchases within a six-month period.

“Considering we’re not a national chain with a national loyalty card program, I think our program stacks up pretty well compared to the bigger stores,” said Jones. “We try to localize our loyalty program as much as possible. Our drug wholesaler, McKesson, has even asked us about our loyalty application and inquired about details of the program.”

“I want to take our loyalty program to a whole new level, and I think we’re going to be able to do that soon with the new features of Eagle software to come,” he concluded.

Case Study #2

Thompson Pharmacy | Independent Pharmacy Improves Operations With Epicor® Solution

Thompson Pharmacy was founded in 1966 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. As one of the last independent pharmacies remaining in the area, Thompson Pharmacy is proud to serve the community — in and out of the store. Bringing simple convenience and quality service is what the company is all about. As a result, they’re able to provide what members of the community want — the best service and prices on quality products.

Expanding Pharmacy Selects Epicor® Eagle®

Thompson Pharmacy was looking to expand their point of sale (POS) functionalities and incorporate a system compatible with a multistore format. It became apparent that their existing POS system would not be able to meet their changing needs, accommodate their expansion, and manage the multistore layout. After an in-depth assessment of vendors, the company selected the Epicor Eagle business management solution.

“We had issues with our previous system not being able to successfully integrate with our prescription management system or manage the multistore system that we required,” said Mindy Baker, general manager for Thompson Pharmacy.

“Epicor Eagle software integrated very well with our QS/1 pharmacy management system (PMS).

It’s imperative that we know when a prescription has been checked out. We now have immediate access to that information at all of our locations. We were also looking for a system to provide more business efficiencies and reduce labor-intensive tasks —something innovative and more accurate.”

“Our decision to select Epicor has allowed us to keep our labor costs down,” she continued. “If we would have stayed with our previous system and not switched to the Eagle solution, we would’ve had to hire an additional person to help manage our company’s POS. Now, we’re able to control the inventory for all four stores with only two people managing the POS system. The Eagle system operates in real time and automatically uploads to our QS/1 PMS — rather than us manually uploading it. This is a huge improvement for our business.”

Customer Loyalty On The Rise

Thompson Pharmacy is proud of the personal level of service they deliver to their customers. As the company continues to multiply, the importance of a well-developed customer rewards program

is even more significant. “Our customers that receive extra savings are more likely to return to our store,” said Baker. “Our previous customer loyalty program was very difficult to run prior to the implementation of Eagle software. Each month, we had to print out hundreds of vouchers, stamp them,

and use precious employee labor hours stuffing and mailing envelopes — it was very expensive. Since implementing Eagle Loyalty, we have saved thousands of dollars per year because the program is electronic.”

Performance Manager Provides Quick Answers

Thompson Pharmacy uses Epicor Performance Manager dashboards to help keep a pulse on their business. “I like that Performance Manager gives us the opportunity to look at a glance what times of the day we were busy, how to schedule our cashiers better, and to make sure that when we are busy, we have people there to take care of customers. That’s the number one priority — take care of customers and your business thrives,” said Baker.

“My favorite thing about Performance Manager is to put a product in the Market Basket and see what items people are buying when they’re buying certain items. It’s amazing to see what drives customers and what products they’re buying drives them to buy other items. It better tells us the customer story of what they’re coming in for and why. Using Market Basket on a daily basis helps our customers have a better shopping experience in our store. When they come in, we can help them get what they want and get out of the store quick and happy,” she concluded.

Case Study #3

Zitomer Pharmacy | Retail Pharmacy Improves Business Operations With Epicor® Eagle®

Zitomer Pharmacy opened its doors in the 1950s as an upscale New York pharmacy. In the years since, the company has grown into a unique shopping destination and landmark on Madison Avenue in Manhattan’s chic Upper East Side. In addition to filling countless prescription orders, Zitomer prides itself on carrying trendy, current, and must-have items, and they have expanded into specialty areas such as cosmetics, hair products, home fragrance, toys and electronics, children’s clothing, prepared foods, lingerie, hosiery, women’s accessories — such as hats, scarves, and gloves — and costume and fine jewelry.

Better Security And Quality Customer Service

Zitomer strives to offer an unparalleled level of customer service and maintain the industry’s most knowledgeable staff. To preserve their quality service levels, the company decided to move away from their previous software system and implement the Epicor Eagle N Series® retail business management solution. 

“We wanted to find a point of sale system that would eliminate our security concerns, streamline inventory management, improve billing operations, and better manage our nearly 3,500 house-charge accounts — Epicor was a perfect fit,” said Frank Vella, vice president of Zitomer Pharmacy. “We can already see that our customer service levels are improving, because we are able to spend less time on tedious back-office tasks and more time with our customers.”

“Epicor has a solid history of protecting businesses, which is a big reason we selected their Europay-, MasterCard-, and Visa-enabled security solutions,” said Vella. “When we feel secure as a business, that trickles down to our customers. With Epicor, we can tell them that we are doing all we can to keep their information safe. As for managing our house-charge accounts, we have been able to benefit from detailed analytics for each account, which lets us analyze where a customer is to determine whether or not to approve a credit extension,” Vella added. “The intuitive dashboards provide the information we need that wasn’t available with our old system.”

Inventory Planner Helps Manage Carrying the Right Items at the Right Time

As a family owned and operated business, strong inventory management is crucial for Zitomer’s success. “The Eagle N Series system seamlessly integrated into our business—not only with our Rx30 Pharmacy Management System, but also every aspect of the business. We have a very big seasonal business, so it’s important to have our usual inventory, seasonal, and post- seasonal inventory at the appropriate stock levels. By utilizing the Epicor Eagle Inventory Planner solution, we now have better control of our inventory,” said Vella.

“We also use the Epicor Compass tool for other reporting. For example, we find it instrumental to generate reports with Compass to see what product lines are selling the best. This helps us determine which orders to place for next year’s inventory. This saves us money and gives us peace of mind that we’ll have the products that our customers want,” he continued.

Information To Build Customer Loyalty

“One of the biggest benefits of the Eagle N Series system is the real-time information,” Vella gushed.

“It’s quick, easy to use, it stores all the information we need, and we can share that information with our customers to help increase loyalty. The system’s information-capture capabilities and email receipts functionality has been a big plus for our customer base.”

“We have been able to build our email list, and because we have such a high-traffic business, there are many customers that would probably never have heard from us,” he said. “With email receipts and customer information, we’re able to track them better and send them relevant promotions—which engages the shopper, increases traffic to our stores and website, and builds true customer loyalty.”

Relationships That Help Grow Business

“Our relationship with Epicor is more than just about software. We view it as a critical partnership that is truly helping our business grow. By providing our staff with a solution that services the customer quickly and securely, stores credit card data for delivery, and helps with house account management, we are able to better compete against the big box stores,” concluded Vella.