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.
A new study by Maritz Motivation Solutions dispels some of the assumptions that many retailers held about consumer loyalty programs. With data gathered from surveying 2,000 consumers, Maritz was able to disprove four myths retailers have about their consumers and loyalty programs.
Myth #1: Consumers don’t want to pay to join loyalty programs. The survey found that 52 percent of respondents would not be willing to pay to join a loyalty program, but the remaining 48 percent would be willing. The fee paid for annual membership can offset the costs of running the loyalty program.
Myth #2. Convincing customers to join a loyalty program is the same as engaging them. Program enrollment is only a minimal level of commitment. The best time to capture member engagement is within the first six months of membership through aggressive communication and by making rewards attainable.
Myth #3. Members of loyalty programs are concerned with redemption only. Data from the survey shows that this is not necessarily a correct assumption. It’s recommended that retailers balance reward messages with opportunities to earn points. Loyalty members also appreciate tools that allow them to track their earnings progress.
Myth #4. Members of loyalty programs remain loyal. All retailers should be remember that all members are at constant risk of changing their loyalty. To retain high-value members, planning surprise rewards can be a good strategy.
The survey found that 43 percent of consumers join a loyalty program because they want to earn rewards. Sixty percent of consumers feel that the reason why companies maintain loyalty programs is to entice them to buy more from them. Consumers don’t fully realize that companies actually want a relationship with them. This study suggests that companies have an opportunity to engage more in the relationship side of loyalty with their program members.
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.