Technology is exciting….and for many pharmacists it’s a fun thing to consider. Science fiction comes to life. So many possibilities! But, the big question is: is that piece of technology an innovation for your pharmacy and for your customers? How do you know you’re not just getting seduced by the bright lights (and flashing buzzers and pretty colours…)?
How many times have you (or a colleague) bought into the technology dream, literally spent money, only to find that it only half solved a problem, created another unanticipated problem and didn’t turn out to the be the answer to a maiden’s prayer as you expected OR heaven forbid, was a poisoned chalice.
Technology or Toy?
When I’m working with my clients I recommend that in order to keep a clear pragmatic head about the potential change they carefully consider the investment and then work out the ROI on that investment by calculating how it will impact (ideally benefit) your customers and the projected flow on effect of that customer benefit on sales and, most importantly, profitability. Do the calculations…. it really is critical!
And for what purpose do you want to purchase this technology or introduce this innovation? Is it for fun? Because it looks cool? Will it benefit your customers? Your bottom line? Your productivity? Your efficiency?
If it looks like there’ll be some good financial and service benefits to making the change then do a SWOT analysis. What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats if you make this change?
Going through these exercises will help you calculate with more precision whether the technology is a worthwhile innovation for your business and your customers.
Turning Technology To Your Advantage.
The next step is to factor in how easy the technology is to implement and how will it be accepted (and utilised) by your staff. Now if your staff are anything like the pharmacy assistants I see on a daily basis then the answer might be “not well” and this is no indictment on them or your leadership.
All human beings are programmed to stay within their comfort zone, it’s vital to their feeling at ease at work. This is a barrier every pharmacy owner needs to break through. For many pharmacies, this is the centerpiece of the change management process.
Accepting change will be an issue.
Face it and face it down.
There’s no need to bludgeon your team into submission, rather identify and communicate the benefits of the change for them. Another fact about human beings is we’re all motivated by what’s in it for us (the WIIFM principle).
If your staff genuinely care about your customers then also explaining how the technology will help the customer will influence them to embrace the change.
Then involve them in implementing the change and help them make it their own. Remember to be the conductor and have your team playing the instruments. There’s nothing like a sense of ownership to get your staff’s commitment to making the change work.
It’s useless having an excellent new app if none of your staff use it or, even worse, an expensive robot that your staff rebel against having in the store or are nervous about.
Technology VS Innovation.
They’re mutually exclusive concepts.
Ultimately it’s innovation that matters because that’s what keeps you ahead of the competition and helps engage customers, gain and keep their trust, loyalty and patronage and ensures you continue to make your difference in your community for many years to come.
This is the lens through which to consider technology so you can turn it to your advantage.
These are rocky times and there are more rocky times ahead. Being strategic in your investment in technology will not only safeguard your investment in your pharmacy but the very future of your pharmacy.
Be excited about the innovation that technology can provide while keeping a clear head and you’ll come out on top.
There are winners in community pharmacy even in these challenging times. Do you intend to be one of them?
In the next article, you’ll discover the best technology opportunities for your pharmacy and how to use them to your advantage but if you’d like to learn some specific innovation strategies you can implement immediately at low or no cost then click here to download your free report: Click Here NOW!