Interactive voice response (IVR), a digital phone system that automates and routes calls, has become a mainstay for independent pharmacies, especially during COVID-19.
IVR helps streamline inbound and outbound calls, save staff time with self-service options, and keep callers updated with important pharmacy information. Most importantly, IVR systems create a user-friendly, personable customer experience, seamlessly directing patient queries and automating customer service.
Here are five ways your pharmacy can make the most out of pharmacy IVR:
1- Personalize and Tailor Your Phone Greetings
Many IVR systems allow you to record your own greetings, which can add a layer of warmth and personality to the phone call. Be creative in your choice of greetings, to add extra “oomph” and enhance the personal touch. Just remember to promote your pharmacy as well as showcase your brand.
With Digital Pharmacist’s Vow IVR, you can use greetings to announce any special offers, seasonal updates like medicare open enrollment consultations, upcoming store closures, holiday hours, and sales. Adding short blurbs about your products and services are also a great marketing tool, especially for patients who mostly interact with you over the phone.
Along with custom messages, consider scheduling greeting scripts and music to change at different times of day, such as during your staff’s lunch break. A special after-hours message with store hours, website information, and instructions for submitting refill requests keep your business going even when your store is closed. You can even load and manage your own “on hold” music or create a custom promotional message for customers on hold.
2- Design User-Friendly Call Menus
The quickest path to a user-friendly IVR experience is a clear and concise call menu. Start by researching callers’ top reasons for contacting your pharmacy and use them as a baseline for creating a customized call menu.
Instead of including all store and location information in your greeting, keep things simple with a call menu option like “Store hours” or “Store information” so patients won’t have to wait. Hearing the same information over and over again every time someone calls in can get redundant.
Create a self-service menu option that allows them to submit refill requests and check the progress of any prescriptions, eliminating the need for extra calls. With Vow IVR, pharmacies can add a prescription status check option to call menus.
The order that you choose for menu items matters as well. Start with the most specific choices, like “Diabetes Specialized Care Center,” leaving options such as “Speak To a Pharmacy Staff Member” until last. This will help cut down on the number of transfer calls and improve your customer experience by getting them exactly where they need to go as soon as possible.
3- Improve the Call Process for Healthcare Providers
Patients aren’t the only ones you’ll want to optimize your IVR system for. Physicians and doctors often don’t want to wait for someone to speak to, so make sure to put provider call options near the top of your call menu.
To ensure prompt pickups, consider setting a special ringtone for providers, which will alert your staff to the call. Vow IVR even allows you to give physicians and doctors preferential treatment by bumping them up the call queue.
You’ll also want an IVR system with the capacity to store voicemails indefinitely for easy recall and validation. Rather than requiring certified techs or pharmacists to pick up all provider calls, a voicemail feature makes it easy for staff to pass prescription orders on to the pharmacist check station. Store voicemail long-term or simplify your reporting and auditing processes by saving hard copies of provider messages for future reference.
4- Enhance Your Call Workflows and Efficiencies
The best IVR solutions are ones that support day-to-day pharmacy operations for a more efficient workflow. Look for solutions that integrate directly with your Pharmacy Management System (PMS), which can help you:
- Process refill requests seamlessly
- Automatically call customers with prescription updates and reminders
- Connect with healthcare providers and insurance companies with a single click (Click-to-Call)
- Access patient profiles and prescription information during calls instantly
- Connect incoming faxes with your PMS to reduce scanning, printing, and waste
Look for IVR systems that offer unlimited lines and consolidate your phone system to reduce costs and simplify your contact center. This way, your phone system can scale with you and patients won’t have to deal with a busy signal when they call.
Another feature to look out for, or take advantage of in your current system, is multi-location transfer, if you plan to open additional stores. Easily connect multiple pharmacy locations through IVR for better communication and smooth caller transfers.
5- Utilize Advanced Features for Expanded Business Offerings
Want to expand your service offerings outside of the store? Look for solutions that power video conferencing platforms. Secure video communications can make it possible for your pharmacy to counsel patients remotely. Authorize refills or prescribe medications from a distance, allowing homebound patients to manage their healthcare remotely.
For URAC or ACHC-accredited specialty pharmacies, advanced features like built-in call reporting are a valuable resource. Partner with IVRs that keep up with industry requirements and regulations. Solutions like Vow IVR provide both raw data and specifically formatted reporting for pharmacies that need to meet certain metrics.
Digital Pharmacist’s Vow IVR has been designed with pharmacy businesses in mind.
To learn more about how you can enhance your patient experience, get in touch to schedule a demo.