When you think of point of sale, what comes to mind?
Do you think of long checkout lines? Battles over incorrect pricing? Yet another cashier pressuring you to apply for some new credit card?
Whatever comes to mind, it’s likely that the definition you apply to point of sale (POS) doesn’t really fit with the image you have for your pharmacy. Let’s face it, the checkout process can be unpleasant in many different ways.
Here’s the thing about those unpleasant retail experiences you’ve had. You had them because the retailer in question has it all wrong. So many retailers treat the checkout process like an assembly line. Every customer the same. Every transaction run according to a script.
Done properly, however, the checkout process can make a difference for your customers. Because in pharmacy, point of sale has to be more than just a way to process payments. In your pharmacy, that POS system must become an extension of your patient care practices.
Let’s break down the checkout process for a closer look.
First, you have to ensure accuracy to build and maintain the trust of your customers. You completed checks and balances during the prescription fill, but what did you do at the time of sale? Did you make sure that the patient had all of his or her ready prescriptions and verify that all the prescriptions scanned are for the right patient? Were you able to verify the date of birth for your patient, matching it against the date of birth on file for that prescription fill? These checks and balances are important both for patient safety and for peace of mind.
The next step is patient adherence, most commonly addressed through patient counseling. What does this look like for your customers, and how do you make certain that every customer who requires counseling receives it? This may look different for every pharmacy, but the important piece here is to think it through, and then have the flexibility in your systems to counsel in a way that’s both effective and efficient. Whether you choose settings to require counseling on new prescriptions or use mobile technology in lieu of traditional registers for more personal interactions, the ability to customize settings makes all the difference.
You can take patient adherence a step further and bring patient wellness into the mix with nutrient depletion management. POS systems featuring this functionality will allow you to make supplement recommendations based on prescription-induced nutrient depletion. Recommendations appear at the time of the prescription scan, allowing nutrient depletion and supplement discussions to be a part of your counseling process.
Finally, we circle back to the king of all checkout complaints: how long it takes. Every pharmacy knows you can’t rush a transaction, but efficiency, and most importantly, respecting your customers’ time, are still important. The overall transaction workflow should be well thought out and intuitive for your pharmacy staff. Also, consider whether you have reporting capabilities to track transaction counts, so you know your pharmacy is staffed appropriately and there are enough checkout lanes. Lastly, bring it all together with service options for every scenario:at the register, in the aisle, at the drive-thru, and at the customer’s front door.
A good pharmacy point-of-sale system has a lot of functionality.
It processes and tracks every dollar spent in your pharmacy. It manages your customer loyalty program, keeps inventory and pricing up to date, and much more. But it should also go beyond all of that, bringing value to your patients and to your pharmacy business. CT
Karen Deckard has worked at Retail Management Solutions for 10 years. Using a background in customer success, Karen combines a passion for problem-solving and industry expertise to help pharmacies use point of sale to succeed.