3 Critical Strategies for Retail Pharmacies During Vaccine Rollout

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For millions in the U.S., community pharmacies are at the forefront of the nearly 330 million people seeking vaccinations and related services. The challenges are immense, patients need information and want the vaccine process to be done quickly and safely.

To help insure a more efficient rollout, here are 3 customer experience strategies that can alleviate stress and build long term-relationships with this new influx of customers.

#1: Schedule with intelligent automation

Getting the vaccine administered quickly will be a massive undertaking. One essential step in the process is scheduling vaccine appointments. Without demand-based, organized, ‘assembly-line-like’ scheduling, there will be long lines, unsafe vaccination conditions, and inaccurate supply allocations. Real-time information and speed will be key to this important part of the patient journey.

With intelligent automation front ending voice and two-way messaging conversations, pharmacies can qualify, schedule and distribute information related to vaccination efficiently. Pharmacies can proactively engage citizens via messaging to remind them of their second vaccination, provide additional details, send urgent updates and more.

#2: Ramp effectively

The public will have many questions regarding the vaccine and will be looking for answers from their local pharmacies. Expect a surge in contact volume. Flexibility will be key to managing surge. The ability to ramp up or down quickly is paramount as organizations enter unchartered territory.

An omnichannel, cloud-based CX infrastructure can enable and integrate digital tools such as automated self-service, AI, text messaging and live chat to deflect calls and scale as needed. But don’t forget to prepare for the biggest influx to be in voice calls, which is still a primary initial interaction channel, especially for complex or emotionally charged conversations.

#3: Enable proactive outreach

Pharmacy employees must actively help the larger community understand the importance of vaccination. They are encouraged to use all available tools to reach out to their enrollees, such as direct-to-consumer channels including emails, phone calls, and mailings. Besides awareness, proactive outreach will be necessary for tasks such as appointment setting, second dose planning, and post inoculation follow-up.

Digital tools like asynchronous messaging can provide information and communication directly on Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, or direct SMS messaging — the same channels consumers use to speak with family and friends.

In the vaccine rollout, customer experience comes first

Community pharmacies only have one shot. A poorly managed vaccination distribution can lead not only to spoilage, but overages and shortages, negative press, and increased infection rates. An effective customer experience strategy can enable meaningful conversations with customers that keep them informed, connected, and ready for this critical step towards recovery.

To learn more on how to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine effectively, and with empathy, explore our CX best practices today