You’re familiar with the concept, even if you aren’t sure about the term. Do you have a computer program or website you use frequently, even though it may not be the least expensive or perhaps not even the most convenient?
We all do, so why don’t we just change to a better option? Sometimes it’s because we are just accustomed to the software and the pain isn’t sufficiently high yet to make us change. Other times it’s because there are certain features we have come to appreciate and would hate to lose them, even if the alternative is a lower price or fewer bugs. In this case, the software has become sticky.
A working definition of stickiness might be this: The provision of optional products, services or information that cements a bond between the pharmacy and the customer.
Because you’re reading this we can assume you already run a good pharmacy. Your deliveries are on time and complete. Your client facilities don’t typically find errors in your billing and you routinely pitch in to help prepare for facility surveys. Your competitors may also have the same performance history, but they are looking to expand and are willing to drop price in order to take your customers. What’s keeping the nursing home from parting company with you?
Relationships matter in all businesses, and especially in a service business like LTC pharmacy. How’s your relationship with your nursing home administrator? Do you talk outside of normal business matters? Do you know his/her background, birthday, college, number of kids? Start here. Resolve to learn something new about your nursing home contacts each month.
What extra value services do you provide? I have a client for whom I edit a monthly newsletter that is sent to key managers and influencers in each of the pharmacy’s accounts. The emails get a pretty good open rate, and we are able to see which articles readers find most interesting based on where they click. Over time, this helps us determine what subjects are most important to each individual.
Can you think of other examples? Here’s one. When I worked for a major LTC pharmacy company we arranged pharmacy tours with members of Congress that represented the congressional district in which the pharmacy was located. Among the local luminaries we invited to join us and meet with the Congressman or Senator were administrators and directors of nursing of our nursing home customers located in the district. Result? Stickiness!
First things first. Working on stickiness when your performance isn’t first-rate is, at best, a delaying tactic. Just like our computer software and favored websites: When the pain of dealing with their shortcomings becomes unbearable, we finally make the commitment to make the switch regardless of the pain and inconvenience.
If your performance isn’t top notch your customer may feel they have no other option but to cut ties and move on, no matter how much they like and appreciate all the collateral benefits you provide.
The competition is heating up in the LTC pharmacy business. The LTC Pharmacy Directory continues to add new pharmacies, as well as pharmacies that have changed their primary taxonomy code to Long-Term Care Pharmacy.
These pharmacies want your business, and some are determined to do it the old fashioned way by focusing on offering lower prices for their services. I’ve never met a LTC pharmacy owner or manager who wanted to play on that level. Want to avoid that? Get sticky!