International companies dominate the landscape of modern America, giant corporations that seem to spring up overnight. For an independent business owner, this can be more than intimidating, it can be actively destructive to business. In the pharmaceutical industry, this becomes especially true, as the chain pharmacies have all but taken over. This fact is unfortunate as it loses the personal attention provided by the local pharmacy. Local pharmacies also invest money back into their community, create jobs and local opportunities. That is a large potential investment considering how many prescription drugs are ordered by doctors and nurses every year. In 2010, for example, 2.6 billion prescription drugs were ordered for patients. For those smaller pharmacy operations still in business, impeccable customer service and investment in appropriate technology is an absolute imperative to keeping the doors open.
- Customer Service: There are uncontested benefits of smaller businesses, such as the mentioned personal attention and local investment. In a pharmacy, this translates to the ability to monitor side effects of medications in the patients, a level of customer service their national counterparts either cannot, or simply do not, manage. This attention can actually save lives with some medications that have potentially lethal effects. Similarly, independent pharmacies with better personal relationships are more able to ensure a patient understands the correct way to take the medication they are receiving, a vital issue.
- Appropriate Technology: Long gone are the days of keying in the product information for each item by hand during a sale. Now there is retail pharmacy software, vital tools for keeping track of pharmacy cash management. Pharmacy point of sale systems, or POS systems, can tell management when to reorder an item from inventory and track sales. They keep track of customer information, store loyalty programs and allow for a quick check-out process. When competing against national chains, investing in a quality retail pharmacy software system makes a local pharmacy a solution for customers with all of the good, such as speed and efficiency, and none of the bad, like generic customer service.
Small business owners are all aware of the threats to their survival, pharmacy owners no less than the rest. Current survival rates for small businesses are that after five years, 50% will still be in business, better than recent hyperbolic statements that nine out of ten fail, but still far from reassuring. However when pharmacy owners make the effort to ensure their customer service is always top quality and they make the investment in the best retail pharmacy software, those threats have less ability to take them down.