Is a Business Coach Right for Your Pharmacy?


Pharmacy owners like to focus on the health of their patients,business coaches help them focus on the health of their business.

Amid today’s evolving health care landscape, independent pharmacies can leverage resources, such as a business coach, to maximize operational efficiency and improve the patient experience, a representative from Good Neighbor Pharmacy said.

In an interview at ThoughtSpot 2017, Jennifer Zilka, Vice President of Business Coaching and Pharmacy Ownership for Good Neighbor Pharmacy, discussed the evolution and subsequent growth of the Business Coaching Program. The program, which launched 10 years ago, grew 25% in the last year to meet the growing demand and evolving customer needs.

“They [pharmacy owners] like to focus on the health of their patients — our business coaches allow them to do so, while we focus on the health of their businesses,” she said.

She discussed the consultation process, beginning with the primary focus of listening to the pharmacy owner — understanding the goals of the owner, who they are and where they want to be in 5 years. The business coaches ask the pharmacy owners for detailed information to help them create a unique and customized plan based on the pharmacist’s goals.

This labor intensive process has proven to be effective, she said, pointing to one success story where a business coach helped an independent pharmacist who had lost a significant amount of business when prescribers moved out of his building. Business coaches worked with the pharmacist to develop a plan and identify prescribers that would be most beneficial to the business, ultimately growing the business by 34%.

The growing Business Coaching Program ties well together with the Pharmacy Ownership Program, also established by Good Neighbor Pharmacy. The Pharmacy Ownership Program is devoted to preserving the future of community pharmacy through sale and acquisition, Zilka explained.

While the business coaching program focuses on all aspects of the business, the one area that is the most impactful, she said, is their attention to employee development. In addition to managing staff conflict, pharmacists must also ensure their customers receive the absolute best patient experience every time the walk in to the pharmacy.

“Independent pharmacies have the home field advantage on customer service,” Zilka explained. However, she said the competition has recognized the value of customer service and is working to catch-up. It is crucial for independent pharmacy owners and pharmacists to invest in their staff, to ensure that each patient’s experience is stellar “because there are many pharmacies out there that would like to take that patient away.”

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