There are so many things that go into an independent pharmacy’s success: the quality of patient care, the range (or lack) of clinical services you provide, the location of your pharmacy, and so much more.
Presentation is one of those often overlooked but vital elements to your pharmacy’s success that can easily go under the radar if you let it.
You only have one chance in giving a good first impression, and your independent pharmacy’s aesthetic can be the deciding factor as to whether a customer decides to take their business elsewhere.
Make certain that your workplace is not only working at optimal efficiency but that it looks good while delivering exceptional service. Here are some Dos and Don’ts in keeping your pharmacy neat and tidy.
A poorly maintained store is a likely deal breaker for potential customers. Studies show that about 64% of shoppers have left a store without making a purchase solely due to the store’s lack of cleanliness.
Naturally, 4 out 5 shoppers prefer shopping at a store that prioritizes cleanliness and hygiene over the store’s fancy technology.
It goes to show that for all a place’s bells and whistles, it won’t add up to much if those fancy machines are covered in dust or surrounded by mold.
And those are only studies about convenience stores. The standards of health are comparatively sky high for pharmacies, a place that ideally prioritizes sterility and cleanliness in literally all of its services.
There is zero chance that a potential customer will want anything to do with your independent pharmacy if it’s not looking the part.
You can never see it pile up in real time but a coat of it always covers the shelves within a single night. Dusting is one of those tedious but necessary cleaning tasks in any home or workplace.
Though working in an independent pharmacy is almost always hectic and relentlessly fast-paced, have a tech or clerk wipe dust off the shelves for a few minutes while the rest of the team holds down the fort.
Cleaning professionals recommend dusting your counters and shelves about once a week, preferably using a microfiber cloth. Microfiber is more absorbent than cotton and can hold the dust rather than pushing it off the shelf and letting it linger in the air.
Though microfiber cloths are more expensive than their cotton counterparts, they’ll be a worthwhile investment that can actually shape your customer base.
You wouldn’t believe all the things that live within your pharmacy’s carpet.
To the untrained eye looking from a distance, the carpet might appear perfectly adequate — especially if your carpet has one of those really elaborate patterns.
A closer inspection, however, will tell a more ominous and even nauseating story. Hairs, dirt, dust bunnies (see the previous section), and even spilled medication all reside on your pharmacy’s floor.
A heavy-duty vacuum cleaner — not the skinny, easily detachable ones — will do wonders for that floor, giving you peace of mind as you walk back and forth throughout the day.
In the event that you find a pill on the floor, refer to an online pill identifier site to correctly identify and dispose of said medication.
This is admittedly common sense for pharmacists: alphabetize your pharmacy’s shelves so filling a medication doesn’t become some time-consuming wild goose chase.
However, you might not have thought about how those bottles look on the shelf.
For multiple bottles of the same drug, are they chaotically scrambled with each other or are they neatly aligned behind one another, putting the ones with the soonest expiration date on the front?
Not only is it pleasing from a visual front, but also makes medications easier to find with the added bonus of minimizing the disposal of expired medications. Put the bottles from the latest shipment to the back and the older ones up front.
Sometimes your pharmacy’s pickup bags are not big enough to hold bulk items: testing kits, diabetic supplies, and a large order of insulin pens are among the several items that can rip through a hanging bag like butter.
Just like cleanly sorting your medications on the shelves, situating your pharmacy’s bulk section goes a long way in improving your workplace’s visual aesthetic.
Dedicate a few shelves or some floor space (for bulk items only) that is easy for you to navigate through so the pickup process is as quick and painless as possible.
Your independent pharmacy likely has a mountain of paperwork, even if you’re well situated with your online services.
Whether it’s storing your Schedule-II scripts or the avalanche of vaccine forms (hello, flu season), it’s extremely important to have folders or binders dedicated to a single kind of documentation. The more precise you are with filing your paperwork, the better.
Your pharmacy’s fridge section can be an easily neglected area of your workplace. Searching for a prescription there can feel like going through an unsolvable maze.
It also doesn’t help that the fridge is, well, a fridge so scouring through it will often make you wish you wore long sleeves to work.
Relieve your fridge of clutter by adopting some of the previously mentioned practices: sort those medications in a deliberate order (there’s some leeway if you prefer to sort by vaccines and insulin types instead of going alphabetically) so going to the fridge doesn’t become too much of a time-wasting odyssey.
Germs are all around us and your pharmacy is naturally more susceptible to carrying a bevy of unknown maladies. They can be on the floor (see the vacuum section) and they can be on your pharmacy counter.
Have a bottle of disinfectant and paper towel rolls handy and wipe down your counters at the beginning of each hour (you may stretch it to every other hour but there are some obvious caveats).
If your pharmacy has a drive-thru, check on the outside window. That area is perpetually open to the elements, whether it be rain, snow, or muggy, humid climates.
Your drive-thru window might be clean from the inside but the outside may require some deep cleaning if not attended to more often. Don’t let a grimy outside window deter customers from filling at your independent pharmacy.
As pharmacies become more of a central medical hub for all a patient’s needs, it's essential to have your business look like a million bucks. These tips for cleaning your pharmacy will do exactly that.
We all know that people do indeed judge a book by its cover — even when it comes to healthcare — so make sure your pharmacy looks as good as your quality of services.