Values drive service in a small town with a big spirit

In this month’s issue of Retail Pharmacy magazine, we spoke with Felicity Roberts, pharmacist and owner of Narromine Pharmacy in NSW, about the pharmacy, her career highlights, the industry’s evolution over recent years, overcoming pandemic challenges and more.

How long have you been a pharmacist and what have been some of your career and store highlights so far? 

I’ve been a pharmacist for 16 years. My career highlight has been working with my business coach Andrew Keipert, who is an EOS [entrepreneurial operating system] implementer. The tools that he’s taught me over the three years we’ve been working together have allowed a clear vision, as well as action on a pathway forward to achieve the business goals that have been set. He’s also helped me build an incredible team.

The system provides tools for identifying issues and dealing with them, which increases the health of the team and business, and promotes growth in a way I hadn’t imagined. And, of course, another satisfying moment in pharmacy has been the completion of our shop renovation and official opening.

Tell us about the ethos of your pharmacy and how it differs from other pharmacies in your view. What kind of customers does your pharmacy attract? 

We have three strong customer segments: over-70s, young families, and preventative healthcare (50-60 years).

Our ethos is around quality, professionalism and giving each customer a great experience through not only our look and feel, but also the way we communicate with our customers. Our processes around meet and greet, answering phones and completing a sale can be replicated so that the customer has a great experience in our store and wants to come back.

Why is looking after your community so important to your pharmacy? What does your customer base value most about your pharmacy? 

Narromine is a small town with a very strong community spirit. Community groups rely on the sponsorship and donations of businesses in town for their survival, and consequently the survival and vibe of the town. I think our customer base values that we’re a local and independently owned business, and they value that I employ local staff. This builds trust and is another reason for people to want to shop locally. 

Can you elaborate on your pharmacy’s values? Why is it so important to maintain these core values in community pharmacy? 

We have four core values that we live by daily in our pharmacy: customer delight, good work ethic, team player, and community.

These values drive our actions, and when we’re unsure of what action to take or are reflecting on a situation, we refer to our core values. These values also help us to identify in the recruitment process staff who are a perfect fit for our pharmacy.

What is the most successful OTC category in your pharmacy and why? 

Our strongest front-of-store department is giftware. We’re a rural store and gift opportunity locally is limited. We’ve spent time understanding our customer base and, therefore, the type of gift that they may purchase.

What are your most popular health services and why do you think they’re so successful? What is your advice to other pharmacies seeking to strengthen that service in their store?  

Our most popular service is vaccinations. Given the pandemic and now the strong comeback of influenza, people are wanting the protection of vaccinations, which is great.

My advice would be to consider your workflow and costs around this service. For our store, we’ve employed a nurse vaccinator who works one day a week, takes five-minute interval bookings, and has a full day. This was more cost- and time-effective than offering the service every day from a pharmacist, and it seems to work for our community.

This Pharmacy Profile feature was originally published in the August issue of Retail Pharmacy magazine – out now! To read the full interview, visit: retailpharmacymagazine.com.au/magazine

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