Tennessee Bans Prescription Transfer Incentives

It has been common practice for pharmacies to offer cash rewards or gift cards to entice customers to transfer their existing prescription from another pharmacy. In some cases, customers were able to earn up to $500 a year by transferring prescriptions. However, in Tennessee, the practice of offering cash incentives for prescription transfers is now prohibited with a recent Tennessee State Board of Pharmacy rule.

Reasons for the New Rule

The new rule addresses the concern for patient safety and care, because continually transferring prescriptions and using several pharmacies instead of one makes it difficult to monitor possible drug interactions. Tennessee has followed suit, as other states before it have prohibited this practice.

What this Means for Tennessee Pharmacies and Others

Customers still have the freedom to choose where they want to fill their prescriptions. Pharmacies are still free to maintain their drug discount card programs and loyalty programs where customers earn points on their purchases, provided these programs don’t promote transferring prescriptions from one pharmacy to another. But this doesn’t mean pharmacies are prevented from seeking new prescription customers, and Alphascrip can help.

Alphascrip offers ROI-driven programs for states where transfer incentives are still permitted and alternative ways to attract customers where transfer incentives are no longer allowed, including:

  • Supplying sample vouchers to physicians
  • Copay offset assistance programs
  • Offering compounding services
  • Patient adherence programs

While the new rule may result in setbacks for companies that attracted customers through transfer rewards, it also provides an opportunity for companies to focus on retaining the customers they have, boosting brand reputation and offering other cost-saving options.

Perception of Wait Times Affects Customer Satisfaction

It comes as no surprise that customers who experience long wait times at the pharmacy will quickly become dissatisfied. When told that a prescription will be ready at a given time, customers expect it will be ready without further delay. However, particularly in underserved communities, wait times can sometimes fluctuate unpredictably. Perception plays a large part in determining customer satisfaction.

Rethinking the Wait

Unfortunately, some wait times are unavoidable. It is possible, though, to reduce frustration with wait times by changing customers’ perception of the wait. The simplest ways to do this are by keeping customers informed, and by apologizing. Keeping the customer updated periodically on how long the wait will be or calling/texting to them to advise that there is a delay reduces unpleasant surprises and wasted trips. Importantly, it lets them know that you value their time. An apology for the wait appeals to customers as they feel that their feelings have been taken into consideration. Customers should not feel that they are inconveniencing you, so apologizing sincerely for the inconvenience to them puts you on the same page.

Other strategies to reduce wait time frustration include making improvements to waiting areas, such as having a television or free water available to ease the wait. Another strategy is to advise customers to come at off-peak times if they are able to do so.

With a few adjustments, perception can be changed to customer satisfaction. If your customers constantly experience wait times, however, you may have to implement more drastic process improvements in order to increase efficiency.

Tips for Pharmacy Loyalty Programs

You already know that establishing a pharmacy loyalty program is an effective way to attract customers. You might not know they also encourage additional spending in order to take advantage of the program. In fact, according to a study by Accenture Interactive last year, customer loyalty program members were responsible for 12 to 18 percent more revenue than customers who were not members. The following are a few tips for implementing an effective pharmacy loyalty program:

Ensure the program provides good ROI

It doesn’t matter how attractive the loyalty program is to both current members and potential members: if the ROI is poor and is hurting the pharmacy’s bottom line, then it’s not an effective program. Track the costs of the program versus the results to properly measure the ROI and reevaluate the program if needed.

Use a mobile-friendly reward program

More and more customers are using their smartphones for almost everything that they do online. The loyalty program must have digital and mobile features to appeal to these customers. For example, offer an app for the loyalty program that makes using it more convenient for smartphone users.

Set the reward program apart from the competition

The pharmacy should offer attractive rewards that set them apart from the competition. Additionally, marketing what makes your program stand out is an important part of its effectiveness.

These are just a few tips that a pharmacy can use to establish an effective loyalty program. For more advice concerning pharmacy marketing, be sure to visit AlphaScrip today. We’ve been partners in success since 1991.