HERD Pharmacy: Building A Brand

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When HERD Pharmacy got operational two years back, founders Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta were keen to establish a brand image for the business. Their vivid world experiences made them keen to do things differently. HERD Pharmacy team was groomed to be devoted to making business transactions better and to learn to bring people scattered in the different outlet locations to be on the same page with the one idea that running a business is more than just selling.

Dealing with customers it became clear that they were at the heart of the operations. Customer service we soon fathomed was all about human interaction and resolving shopping issues to their complete satisfaction. Yes every now and then we came across situations and problems that brought staff under stressful situations. And so began the journey of training employees in the fine art of customer handling.

Customer service became the pivot around which the entire transactional business rotated. A satisfied customer was our brand ambassador and this is what prompted us to pay closer attention to learn how to handle our customers. Instead of getting under any kind of pressure employees were made to understand that they were to resolve issues through empathetic interactions. This was to be taken up as a challenge and empathy was to be our way forward.

Once front line staff began to learn to deal positively with customers they were soon offering excellent customer experiences. Again the challenge here was to ensure that they needed to offer high-quality interactions with customers. And this is the area that management began to focus on with the belief that they needed to extend empowerment to staff members.

Chief of Operations Ankur Gupta began to ascertain the dictum – if you want your people to act like it’s their business, make it their business! He inspired his team to create the “WOW” effect for every customer who walked in the door. Lending a certain flexibility of approach front line staff was empowered to lead sales by never losing a customer. HERD Pharmacy is now bent on implementing proactive customer service that remains the most critical component for the business.

For Pharmacy managers – Suresh Poonia, Stawan Bhujbal and Sachin Salunke spreading the customer service experience became a mission. Keyed up by the mission and vision statements drilled by management the entire pharmacy team has been trained to do their best. Attempts are now on to direct everybody in the organization to understand the importance of delivery of exceptional service to customers. Everybody is now focused on providing excellent customer service.

All credit goes to the managing directors of the organization who have involved one and all to share this focus which is what has made HERD Pharmacy to become absolutely customer-centric. Regular staff training teaches employees to serve others in a genuine manner as well as to understand how to deal with difficult moments. They have been given the freedom to use their talents and skills to the best of their abilities to make customers happy and satisfied.

We are now looking at the bigger picture and attempting to take on the bigger challenge for customer service and that is to make sure we create an integrated end-to-end customer experience. We do not want our customers having to repeat themselves. Also we do not want them to be out of the loop of off-site touch-points. So we will begin to take the right approaches through the right technology to help in these areas too.

Today, HERD Pharmacy is a visible brand made tangible by its people skills. Standing at the threshold of a burgeoning undertaking HERD Pharmacy reiterates the fact that when it comes to customer service, it’s not about what consumers think. Great service is about feelings and that is what we want to spread. Good will and Good health for all.

 

Retail Therapy – God is in the Details

HERD Pharmacy division offers a wide range of goods other than medications and health products that are all offered at retail pricing. The expanding workforce is provided with training, business information and advice as to how to go about making sales that hit the roof. The recent Maha Bachat Mela at the pharmacy located at Khamla is a case in point. Newly set up a few months back, the team needed to build up a retail customer base.

We have learned it along the way that retailing cannot be looked upon at, on an as-is-where-is basis. Proactive customer service to create a positive retail customer experience is going to be vital for establishing presence in an open market. And completion is right across the street and everywhere. This is why the focus has always been on a coherent and practical retail service model that would differentiate us from the others.

The sales staff at the front-end and back-end as well as from management level from top to bottom follow the essentials to help deliver exceptional customer service experience. We continuously drill the minds of our sales staff to exert themselves to befriend and convert customers who walk in through the door. Our salespeople have been ingrained to not just inform but also inspire, educate, and instill confidence in them so the next time round they want to walk in for another wonderful shopping experience.

We do not allow disengaged employees because such will become risky propositions. What we aim for is that when a customer walks in our sales staff should push himself/herself out of their comfort level. Whether they want general medicines, cosmetics, or a health product sales staff should be helping them make their purchases in a manner that will make them return back for more shopping later.

So how do they do it? Staff puts on a supportive attitude and encourages shoppers to try out new things apart from what they actually came in to buy. Overtime they have been trained to learn how to form customer-centric relationships. Offering the team members a certain leeway to chat up with clients, we know for sure this little bit of extra time acts as a fillip to approach and engage often times with total strangers!

New shoppers who venture into the store are happy about the exceptional experience. They are instantly at ease with the friendly atmosphere, attitude and manners of the attending staff. Soon in good time we hope to make them regulars. The Maha Bachat Mela held last week brought in very many new customers. The success of the three day event makes us plan for more such events on occasions.

HERD Pharmacy has been offering very simple concessions to drive home the point that we mean business. The one way in which we engage with them is over the counter or through a call to engage with them and assist them make their purchases. Simple gestures and free home delivery is to really attract them to respond to our customer service. We follow the simple dictum – make the customer happy.

Staff has been trained to employ measures that ensure a few norms in place. Like for instance greeting customers in a way that makes them want to buy and keep coming back. We pay attention and let repeat customers know that we recognize them. Anything goes to start a conversation – politics, cricket and the weather! And a bit of conversation is always good to set the ball rolling.

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GENDER APPROACHES – HERD GROUP PHARMACY DIVISION

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Pharmacists, more commonly known as chemists in our country, are healthcare professionals who practice in a pharmacy. It is a field of health sciences that focuses exclusively on the safe and effective usage of medications. As health care team members they are directly involved with patient care. To be able to do this they have to undergo university-level education to understand all about biochemical drugs, drug uses, therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions as well as be cognizant of monitoring factors for using medications.

It appears to be a good idea to staff pharmacies with women team members, particularly at the store counters. This would be especially useful to interact and respond to women customers walking into the medical store. It has been seen observed that women customers are generally more comfortable to talk to women on the workforce team. Such suggestions have been going around in the sector, emanating from several quarters. It’s been given to understand that the presence of a lady makes female customers (already be troubled by disease and patients back home) instantly comfortable.

Aside from it being a great idea to increase the sales process, it would also work for enhancing the much needed gender equity in the pharmacy sector. In our country very often advice is sought from pharmacists regarding medications to be taken for general ill- health conditions. The best of us may have done so at some point. Since most medical stores are run by men there are hardly any women present to quell doubts arising for women customers. So it’s a good idea to have women pharmacists to tackle issues faced by female visitors.

More often than not in case of mild ill-disposition like common fevers, cold, coughs, and headaches, it is quite common for pharmacists to be quizzed for suitable remedies. If a pharmacy is closer at hand than a doctor many people simply walk up to the medical store and seek guidance as to what medicine should be taken. In the case of women customers having female pharmacists across the counter may be a sound idea to counsel such women as to the best course forward.

By and large, although sizeable numbers of females pass out of pharmacy education each year, a pharmacist’s job is not yet considered as an ideal job for women. Such conservative thinking and traditional opinions continue to plague the sector that keeps women largely out of it. HERD Pharmacy plans to recruit women with the aim to induct willing female pharmacy staff to enhance their diverse roles and to make the best use of their skills. We are keen to make our pharmacies women-friendly so that women customers may approach comfortably and be able to share whats on their mind.

“The feminisation of pharmacy is a fascinating insight into the overall make up of the pharmacist workforce…” ~~ Anas Hasan

HERD Pharmacy – ‘MAHA BACHAT MELA’

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A very enthusiastic HERD Pharmacy marketing team is geared up to deliver as promised at the three-days ‘Maha Bachat Mela’ or Huge Saving Event organized at Khamla for June 9-10-11, 2017. The medical store will have on offer medicated cosmetics and general health products at discounted prices to build up its customer base. Khamla Pharmacy was set up only recently and this is a tried and tested marketing strategy being executed by the experienced team.

The good thing about the HERD Pharmacy team is that the pitch includes everyone – from top level Operations Head to Managers, Communication-designers, Market-campaigners, Event coordinators, and Marketing-specialists along with pharmacy staff. Everyone joins in responsibly to highlight the brand image of the establishment. And what makes HERD Pharmacy stand out from regular pharmacies is the fact that it is affiliated to a large hospital.

This allows health issues of patients requiring more care and expertise to be directly referred to the hospital. In fact the Maha Mela is also conducting a free general health check-up for interested people who walk into the pharmacy during these three days. The team has arranged for experienced doctors and nurses from Lata Mangeshkar Hospital to undertake check-ups. Other than create awareness in the area the point HERD Pharmacy is making is that this is a specialty pharmacy that goes beyond merely responding to prescriptions.

It’s been only days that the Khamla pharmacy was set up and the team has now roped in clinical expertise. Other than this, pharmacy staff has been trained to be compassionate and to guide and support customers who come in. The team sincerely believes that true excellence goes beyond the call of immediate duty. HERD Pharmacy is therefore intent on seeing its brand image advance and thrive.

Operating three other medical stores in different locations in the city, the team is well aware that everything depends on exceptional customer service. And so the staff is trained to provide outstanding service to attract people to become regular customers. Undoubtedly personal attention and a supportive attitude is just the way to increase sales at the pharmacy. Every day the personnel is motivated to question themselves as to what it is that they can do better to enhance the customer experience.

Supervised by senior managers, the interns and new staff are regularly inspired to perform their best. Gaining direct feedback helps managers implement the needed changes that are required. HERD pharmacy will in time transform into more than just a place that sells medicines. The team is already providing convenience products, supplements, health food, health products and Ayurveda medications at the store.

The attempt now is to focus on integrating marketing techniques to create tailor-made sales strategies work out for the target population. In so doing they are concentrating on forming stable relationships with patients and customers. The marketing team is looking at past marketing successes in order to develop suitable approaches for Khamla Pharmacy. Knowing full well that healthcare is increasingly becoming consumer-driven, the team is deploying practices to tune into what patients want and desire.

This “MAHA BACHAT MELA” is all set to offer discounts to its growing numbers of valued customers. Discounts are being made available ranging from 5% to 50% for all general health products and cosmetic goods.  HERD Pharmacy Marketing Team understands what the customers want to buy and help them do so. They are not afraid of getting creative to experiment with ideas. This then is just such an event to attract customers, egging them on to buy products of their choice at discounted prices.

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Monsoon Games

 

1200px-New_Mexico_Monsoon_2011Nagpur. Still humid, muggy and sultry. The rainy season was supposed to start already. But it’s been days now. And no rains! The hushed under song of the early dawn brings in cool breezy winds. You almost smell the moisture laden atmosphere and you are still waiting. And perhaps imagine the earthy scent that is produced when rains hit the parched dry soil. Your senses are yearning for the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of the first rains. Yet they tarry and linger and the clammy days move on from morning to night with nary a drop from the heavens!!

Each morning the weather projections get broadcast everywhere. Even Facebook informs – “It’s going to rain. Take care and stay dry!!” But the past three days since June 5 when the monsoons were predicted to start their annual deliverance, are going high and dry. Insat weather imagery is also going awry. The clouds keep getting all skewed and out of kilter. The high resolution Insat images too are unable to keep track of the wayward clouds. Yet, still we wait…

Nagpur has been gearing up for heavy rains as monsoons this year are expected to be really heavy. With the rains projected to hit soon the civic administration has been attending to issues related to water logging and need for maintaining hygiene, especially in vulnerable areas. The authorities are busy scrambling to complete the sludging and de-silting works of ditches, drains and nallahs. The experiences of last couple of years have not been good. Flooding of homes in low lying areas and swamping of roads and open spaces created severe problems.

As a prelude to the heavy downpours that are expected the city has been ascertaining that garbage disposal is efficaciously carried out. With new norms of garbage collection citizens are being roped in to become accountable for cleanliness around them. This is very important especially in view of ensuing health issues and epidemics like dengue and malaria that must be overcome. Thus while rains are a natural phenomena, flooding and epidemics are certainly preventable. This is why everybody needs to pitch in to make the season safe and healthy.

So even as we wait for the rain gods to bestow their bounty, it has certainly been beneficial to have had city precincts undergo deep-cleaning and sprucing-up to face up to the anticipated monsoon onslaught. In the meantime we stay pinned with our hopes on the skymetweather.com prediction that the Monsoon 2017 will make its onset over North Maharashtra and that rains will increase gradually by June 10-12.

HERD Foundation wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable monsoon season. Here are a few tips to remember to stay healthy while weathering it out for the next few months:

  • Avoid street food.
  • Keep insect repellent handy.
  • Avoid walking about in the rain.
  • Keep umbrella, rain coat, and cap handy.
  • As far as possible eat hot food and drinks.
  • Children should not be allowed to play in the rain.
  • Dry feet immediately if they get wet.
  • Avoid colds and coughs by keeping your body dry.
  • Drink herbal teas often.

Follow up to Environmental Concerns

 

June 5 has come and gone. World Environment Day as rightly tweeted by Emmanuel Macron is ‘a day a year to remind us our everyday responsibility to’ safeguard our environment. The need is as he further states to “Come here with us to work together on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment.”

However, just a couple of days after World Environment Day the rapturous projections seemed to have suddenly dissipated. Is World Environment Day just a symbolic gesture for most of us? Don’t we need to stay focused on cleaning up our act?  The entire lead up to the big day should in fact keep us spurred all year round to undertake doable tasks. Environmental problems beset us all – from adverse rural backyard matters to ever-increasing urban issues – all need constant work.

Concern for environment is therefore a call for action that gets you physically out and moving to undertake planned approaches to preserve nature – all flora and fauna and to carefully manage our natural resources. This means we need to concertedly organize our actions to tackle fallouts of environmental issues that maybe inadvertently affecting us. This may be containing soil run off, rain water harvesting, use of efficient clean energy, greening our surroundings, planting trees and saving water. Like-minded groups and concerned communities should take up the cudgels to spell out the needs to make people aware of issues and how they can be handled.

This year in particular is all about connecting people to nature. This means you need to encourage more and more people to experience the outdoors. To become involved with conserving the planet hands on. Our efforts should be to show people by example how important it is to protect our Earth for the benefit of future generations. We need to keep track of what is going on around us and how we can be involved together on this global mission.

It’s a good thing that everyone today is motivated to plant trees. As important as this is it is equally essential to clean up surroundings. Environmental upgradation being the need of the hour it is going to be really important to raise the awareness on this count among the children. Knowledge of connectivity of natural world and our mutual interdependence is something we need to leave as a legacy. This is what will mold kids to take part in embracing and protecting the great outdoors.

Already majority of the rural people around the world spend every working day ‘connected to nature’ and appreciate their dependence on natural resources. They know full well how nature provides their livelihoods by replenishing water tables and renewing soil fertility. But they are really among the first ones to suffer when ecosystems get threatened by pollution, over-exploitation, and climate change.

Nature’s bounties are really quite difficult to value in monetary terms. Like clean air which is simply taken for granted until smog and pollution makes it difficult for us to breathe. Or our shrinking water levels that makes scarce potable water. But now social scientists are devising ways to measure costs of our ‘ecosystem services’. We are being made conscious of our carbon footprint.

World Environment Day should rightly help us to start monitoring our carbon footprint. The amount of greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere as a result of our activities. This can be screened by individuals, organizations, communities, countries at all levels to ensure checks and balances on lifestyles and operations for regulating carbon footprints. Let us then begin to keep a watch on our personal footprint to measure how large our it is and think of ways we can work to shrink this. Every day in every way!

HERD Foundation Observes World Environment Day

 

IMG_2096Never before than now, has the awareness and observance of World Environment Day been felt to be so very imperative. In the wake of the US rejection of the Paris Climate treaty it becomes all the more important to emphasize the negative effects of global warming. The World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Citizens all over the world are organizing all kinds of events – clean-up drives, social plantation and action to combat global warming.

From its genesis in 1972 World Environment Day that is celebrated on June 5, has grown in size and volume to become the biggest annual event to inspire positive environmental change and call for action. ‘Connecting People to Nature’, the theme for World Environment Day 2017, implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.

HERD Foundation observed World Environment Day to reinforce the fact that we have but one Earth which we need to protect and allow flourishing through corrective actions. For nearly half a century wayward industrialization and the modernization have ruined our natural resources. Each and every one of us has to do our bit to stop things sliding further down and getting out of hand.

To lay emphasis on our actions HERD Foundation planned the green theme for the day starting from wearing green colored clothes on this special day. We started off on a poster making competition that was organized and that had everyone putting down their version of the need to safeguard planet earth. The entrance wall to the office soon became bedecked in colorful posters drawing attention to the varied way in which each one interpreted call for action to work for protecting the Earth. After putting up the stunning display so enthusiastically, the entire staff was roped in to play the game of Web of Life. Farm manager Anil Khare coordinated the proceedings and facilitated the amazing connectedness and inter-dependency across nature, natural resources and the universe.

The summer interns who have joined HERD Foundation put up a spirited debate on the Paris Climate Treaty debacle by USA and it was engaging to hear out the pros and cons of Trumps withdrawal from the pact. Finally every one of the staff members publicly spelled out their commitment for the entire year as to the one positive action they would be undertaking to positively combat climate change and to remain connected with nature. The commitments have been recorded and displayed for reinforcement on daily basis. The first half of the day ended with a common luncheon party.

Year 2017 would be weaving in the Environment Day theme of going about being part of nature and to see how intimately we depend on it. The Environment Day observance undertook to challenge us all to find fun and excitement while working around the seriousness of the obligation. HERD Foundation remains committed to experience and cherish our vital connection and relationship with Mother Earth.