Disney’s Pharmacy Solution
On the occasion of her seventh birthday, I recently had the pleasure of escorting my granddaughter to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I hadn’t visited any of the Disney properties in a good 30 years. While each venue was distinctly different in the entertainment value it delivered, there was a very clear commonality in all their management styles. It was remarkable to me that so many people seemed happy despite the fact that the parks are expensive and crowded, and that it is not unusual to wait up to an hour to get onto a 5-minute ride. I thought perhaps today’s pharmacy owners could take a lesson or two from Disney.
For years, retailers have tried to explain what makes Disney so successful and how this success can be replicated. In the simplest terms, I suppose, the answer is to give people what they want and be the best at it. But I think I have cracked the code; these 10 points are something I’m fond of calling The Disney Pharmacy Solution.
1. Efficiency: Develop creative and efficient ways to keep patients occupied while waiting for a prescription. In Disney terms, keep the lines moving. This may not get the prescription filled any faster, but keeping the patient occupied does seem to mitigate the wait.
2. Attitude: I always said that a patient in a pharmacy is the most difficult customer. In many cases, patients are sick and angry that they have to spend money for something they really didn’t expect to purchase. A smile and a friendly greeting go a long way to take the edge off. Every Disney employee is trained to smile, wave, and say hello. It works, even with adults.
3. Accessibility: There isn’t an area in Disney where you cannot find an employee to answer a question. Patients like their pharmacists, especially those who are accessible to them.
4. Ingenuity: Disney is constantly updating its theme parks. A pharmacy that has not had a fresh coat of paint, new signage, or new displays for years sends the wrong message to patients.
5. Variety: There is something for everyone at Disney, whether you are a child or an adult. Give your patients something to look at or purchase when they visit your store or are waiting for a prescription.
6. Continuity: Even three decades did not change my image of Disney. I felt as comfortable walking around the theme parks as I did 30 years ago. Consistent good service is also the cornerstone of a pharmacy’s longevity.
7. Branding: The name “Disney” is everywhere! Have you promoted your store lately?
8. Price: It’s important, but Disney learned that the tariff is softened when good business practices are executed properly.
9. Technology: This is what keeps Disney going. Investing in updated technology is the key to running any successful pharmacy.
10. Customer Service: Without it, Disney would not have survived so long. It’s what ultimately separates your pharmacy from your competitors’ businesses.
So put those “ears” on and get to work. You may not be providing amusements, but you are providing the gift of life, and I can’t think of anything else that puts such a big smile on people’s faces.