You can call me Doctor

May 15, 2012

One pharmacist argues that wanting to be called Doctor is more than just ego.

What identity are you trying to convey? Are you Joe's Budget Drugstore, with Joe the druggist behind the counter to count your pills, or are you The Best Professional Pharmacy, with Dr. Smith willing to advise patients about their healthcare needs?

Titles and propriety matter. Professionalism matters. Image matters.

Do you employ cashiers who count pills, or do you hire professional Doctors of Pharmacy and highly educated licensed pharmacists with at least a 5-year bachelor's degree, pharmacists who may have more education - and quite possibly a more rigorous one - than the CEO of your corporation?

It is ultimately up to the decision-makers in any organization to project the image of that organization. Competition is tough out there. What store in the district will increase its monthly sales the most over last year? How can we increase margins? Through image. A positive one. An image of competence and professionalism projected to those who come to your retail establishment seeking assistance from a competent professional.

Some coffee shops use image to sell coffee for three times the price one would normally pay for a cup of coffee. Image matters.

A flea-market Rx

If an organization wishes to make the transition from just selling stuff to providing services or emphasizing services, it must consider image.

Would you trust a pharmacist at a flea market to fill your prescription and offer healthcare advice? Hmmm . . . Or are you more likely to trust a pharmacist in a separate, wood-paneled pharmacy that has carpeting on the floor and comfortable chairs and magazines to read while you wait for your prescription?

Image matters.

You might also consider mounting a TV on the wall, the way they did at the automobile repair shop down the street. Patients who have something else to concentrate on might not be so distracted by ringing cash registers or customers screeching through the tinny drive-through audio system. Perhaps they won't notice so much if it takes longer than 20 minutes to fill their prescriptions. Perhaps they'll be less likely to complain about the wait and take their business elsewhere.

Image matters.