Last year was the longest flu season in the United State in a decade, starting in October 2018 and continuing through May 2019. This year, the CDC is reporting slow but increasing flu activity. As the season picks up, here are some ways your pharmacy can use text messaging to help consumers stay well.
1. Educate your community
Encourage customers to text your pharmacy for tips on how to stay well this flu season.
Zipwhip research shows that consumers across all generations, not just Gen X and Y, prefer texting and 73% said they would like to receive more texts from businesses. While emails get buried in inboxes and consumers grow more wary of phone calls, texting is emerging as the most effective tool for reaching customers.
Pharmacies can use this opportunity to reach customers with educational materials about the flu, answer frequently asked questions or even offer a friendly reminder to schedule a flu shot all through a simple text.
2. Increase over-the-counter (OTC) product sales
Include a link to your top OTC cold and flu remedies in your custom text signature. The signature appears at the end of your outbound message, so patients can choose to view any last-minute items they may need with their script order.
You can also add keywords to your Auto Reply. Every time a patient texts your pharmacy, you can send them a reminder to stock up on OTC medications this season.
3. Use keywords to promote flu shots
Create a simple SMS keyword contest where the first 10 people to text FLUSHOT receive a coupon or gift card. Once they text, they’ll get an auto response prompting them to schedule their flu shot.
4. Try offering unique options
You can offer unique products to customers, like flavored liquid medication. Pharmacies can use text templates to engage patients and liven up the process of buying something like cough syrup with emojis.
5. Avoid spreading germs in-store
Place a sign outside of your pharmacy prompting sick patients to text “curbside” to expedite prescription pick-up and provide a personalized service that makes your customers feel like VIPs. This can help prevent germs from hanging out at your pick-up window and mitigate any lines from forming. It’s a win-win.
6. Schedule follow-up texts
After a patient picks up a new antibiotic, you can schedule a text two-to-three days later to check in for potential side-effects and ensure dosing directions are being followed. This easy touchpoint will help prevent any adverse drug events and build a loyal patient following.