Retail workers across industries are currently experiencing an unfortunate crunch on two fronts. Ongoing supply chain challenges drive customers to reach out with concerns, and retailers, like many other businesses, continue to suffer the effects of the Great Resignation.
Pharmacies in particular have been hit hard. Heightened risk from the pandemic, ongoing staffing challenges, compiling responsibilities and an increase in number of patient questions result in increased delays and wait times for patients and higher staff burnout. As a result, stress levels for pharmacists have increased dramatically, with burnout rates anywhere from 50% to 70%, according to RXinsider.
How can pharmacies better support their employees while navigating these challenges?
1. Processes Automation: Pharmacies can leverage AI, machine learning and automation capabilities to automate high-frequency, low-skill tasks and take some of the pressure and strain off workers. Leveraging automation technology in this way can help streamline and simplify staff processes, reduce time-intensive and repetitive tasks while also driving efficiencies across the interaction experience. Investing in these process automation, robotics and intelligent tools will cut back on time spent navigating complex tasks.
2. Self-service Solutions: Offering self-service options through digital channels — such as incorporating a chat bot on the website — automates simpler service requests like refilling a prescription, freeing up more time for staff to handle more complex or unique service requests. These automated interaction channels also offer customers more convenient options and control of when and where they can get answers to frequently asked or easily automated questions.
3. Data Application: The same AI and machine learning that power automated self-service solutions can also be used to collect and deliver the right data to retail workers and pharmacists. This data empowers them with contextually rich information they need to provide the best, most personalized customer experience.
But it’s not just employee experience that’s been impacted over the last few years. The pandemic has also changed customers’ expectations and desires. Convenience, service and ease reign supreme in 2022, and retail pharmacies will need to adapt to these experience expectations or risk losing even the most loyal customers.
What investments can your organization make to more successfully adapt to the current and evolving needs of your customers?
1. Cloud-based Technology: Cloud technology is, by nature, agile and adaptive. Unlike infrastructure-based systems, cloud-based systems reduce the need for frequent maintenance and patching, freeing up more time and resources to focus on the unique, higher-value needs of the business. Cloud-based offerings further enable agility by fueling a spirit of experimentation, allowing companies to quickly react to new demands and experiment with technologies without investing capital resources for an outcome that may not be guaranteed.
2. Intelligent Automation: There has been a recent explosion of innovation in automation capabilities. What’s possible today was not possible even just a year ago. Businesses today can use intelligent, automated technologies that learn and evolve in step with the evolving needs of the business and customers. Investing in these capabilities, especially in your contact center, will power up your ability to remain adaptive, so you can exceed expectations and outcomes in every customer interaction.
3. Data Automation and Intelligence: Becoming more adept and sophisticated with your data is part strategy, part orchestration. You can figure out ways to make better use of the tools and capabilities you already have — to get more out of your data — but, without smarter data solutions like AI, machine learning, predictive and conversational analytics, or intelligent automation, your data strategies are likely going to fall short of the competition. It is more important than ever to consider these innovative, agile data solutions to successfully meet your customers’ expectations — now and in the future.
Businesses that wish to remain competitive must build agility and adaptability into their strategies to meet current and future challenges. This includes taking pressure off employees when and where possible, and giving them the best tools and technology to make nuanced, data-driven and, ultimately, human-based decisions.