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.

Monthly Employee Engagement Get-Togethers

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The afternoon hours of the last Saturday of the month are observed as Employee Engagement get-together by HERD Group of Companies. This excellent idea by HR is taken up with enthusiasm by all people working in and out the organization. It is really an interesting wrap up to the month that has the varied personnel meeting each other. The last Saturday also makes use of the forum to wind off the get-together by celebrating employee birthdays during the month.

In a pretty widespread and structured organization like HERD Foundation where more often than not staff may not always get to meet or talk to each other the activities allow for people to enjoy and have fun. HR wisely also uses the opportunity to take on some interesting training that adds to the efficiency and knowledge of the staff. Past such engagement has seen Nestle taking up training for staff attached to the Pharmacy division. This Saturday’s training is on Understanding Investments & Savings.

Employee engagement sessions organized by the enthusiastic team HR department allows staff members to relax, rewind and feel refreshed. Also the training session adds value to the merrymaking later. It is the aim that staff has fun at work and at the same time such activities help in building and fostering team spirit. It is for this reason that the HR staff devotes itself whole heartedly to bring everyone together from top to bottom in a bid to relieve the month’s stress and also to assist staff in bonding with each other. All miffed up feelings that are natural to occur in a huge set up get reduced when employees feel emotionally attached to their common work place.

It is great to hear the young HR staff figuring out what fun and games activities to take up. Having done this for some time now it is a challenge to come up with novel activities every month. And the spirited manner in which all aspects of such activities for employees is taken up is worth all the dilemma. Employee engagement activities are therefore totally vital when the employers want their employees to truly engage with what they do. And for the HR department that is always on the lookout for new and more interesting ways to make the monthly affair bright and happy here are some bright ideas – http://hrpeople.monster.com/news/articles/3075-25-hr-approved-office-party-ideas

Another aspect of such engagements is that they help in staff retention and most organizations do want to retain their best talent at work. This is a wonderful way to emotional connect to everyone working from their vantage positions. And so out of the everyday running around the last Saturday of the month becomes a day for some excitement and breaking bread together. Out of the rigors of daily fetters of their jobs such engagements help in creating a normal, relaxed end to the month’s pressures.

We do believe that our series of employee engagement activity has kept our workforce incredibly lively and dynamic. We have found this actually works to make them more productive too. There is little doubt that there is a direct relationship between employee engagement and employee motivation, productivity, satisfaction and retention. HERD Foundation remains indebted to its HR department for raising the bar when it comes to staff welfare and staff well being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on World Schizophrenia Day

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May 24 is largely observed as World Schizophrenia Day across the world. It is a day that attempts to create public awareness about this debilitating disorder of the mind. Schizophrenia is one of the most serious mental health conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. Statistics gathered by psychiatrists’ state that over ten percent of schizophrenics commit suicide.

The day has been therefore marked out to raise awareness about the condition and to understand the situation of people suffering from schizophrenia. The disorder is psychotic problem in the mind, and it influences how a person feels, behaves and thinks. The day makes us pause in our lives and spare thoughts for schizophrenic patients to know how difficult it is for them to live with this tragic affliction.

We also need to be aware of the ways they manage to cope with their situations and to stop a while in our lives to acclaim their grit and determination in carrying on coping with their lives. It is really very sad to see a young adolescent on the threshold f life struck by the disease and learning to deal with it. It is very difficult to see a loved one gradually starting to withdraw from life and living as we know it. It is hard to imagine there world where they hear strange voices insulting them, and telling them so much.

A schizophrenic’s universe is distorted and they remain elusive to their own reality.  Not certain who their friends are, they start to misinterpret well meaning intentions. Families are at a loss to understand how to handle close ones and survive. Worse it is for the patient who has to contend with misunderstandings and lack of consideration from near and dear ones.

Families and friends must be very clear that they are not failing if they cannot manage their ward. It is not being a bad parent, husband or offspring. Like any other illness it is a mental illness.  The thing to remember here is that those who suffer from schizophrenia need to be treated with respect and love. However difficult this may be.

Moreover they need to get quality medical treatment that also will be very difficult in some cases. With time conditions may vary and also deteriorate that may require hospitalization and proper psychiatric care as also counseling. People affected by this vacuous disease are actually very brave in trying to cope with their limitations. And so if we come across a likewise messed up person we must always remember to be kind to them. Knowing that schizophrenia is a biological illness, it is important to care for and support someone who lives with the condition.

People must be aware of the following essential facts of this mental disorder:

  • Onset may start in late adolescence or early adulthood.
  • Symptoms include – Hallucination:hearing, seeing or feeling things that do not exist. Delusion: fixed false beliefs or suspicions that are firmly held even when there is evidence to the contrary. Abnormal behavior: strange appearance, self-neglect, incoherent speech, wandering aimlessly, mumbling or laughing to self.
  • People with schizophrenia are more likely to die early than the general population as a result of physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular, metabolic and infectious diseases.
  • Causes of schizophrenia are not known, but researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environment contributes to development of the disorder.
  • Schizophrenia is treatable and is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapy appropriate to each individual.

However the fact is that half of the people with the condition do not get appropriate care.

Basic Life Support Skills for All

Teaching of basic life support skills to aid critical victims to help them stay alive until expert medical assistance is at hand remains a mission for HERD Foundation. First responder care to victims of road accidents or heart attacks actually makes the difference between life and death. To accomplish this undertaking HERD Foundation is leaving no stone unturned to make essential first steps and procedures a matter of common knowledge for one and all.

Moving beyond the sphere of healthcare providers even non-medics have been given training to respond swiftly and spontaneously in emergency situations so that an affected person may be administered emergency care. The aim is to save countless people who otherwise die each year from blocked airways or heart attacks and who can be saved with due first aid. Nearly 150,000 fatalities occur on Indian roads alone each year. Victims may readily be safely taken to receive emergency medical care after critical basic first-aid.

Starting with the entire staff of the medical institutes with which we are associated, the BLSS training to become informed first-responders has taken on the non medical staff as well. Even ordinary citizens have been brought under the fold of the training programme that will hopefully be made more widespread. The attempt is to get people of all walks of life to respond to such critical situations without any reluctance. In fact they are being taught to extend a helping hand with awareness, understanding, comprehension and confidence.

The aim is to ensure that people do not die unnecessarily for lack of first-responder care. In many situations like for instance road accidents, drowning, suffocation or even heart attack certain procedural guidance may revive victims without adding any kind of trauma if they are in the hands of an informed person. The thing is that instead of doing nothing and just waiting for medical help to arrive you may lose the victim.

Our trainings have proved to be of use and majority of trainees who earlier did not feel confident about being able to save a life have learnt to respond with certainty and promptness. This has been very encouraging for HERD Foundation and been an inspiration to launch ongoing campaigns to get more people to learn these CPR and first aid skills. Outcomes tell us that whereas earlier people would do nothing if they saw somebody struggling, now they rise up to the occasion to respond prior to arrival of medics or offer care that will suffice until taken to the hospital.

We would also be shortly coming out with a manual that will act as a first aid guide. The manual is a road map that will instruct in life-threatening situations. This entire campaign is backed by HERD Foundation Managing Director Dr Suchika Gupta, for whom it is a heartfelt undertaking that needs to be taken up at the widest levels possible. Her passion and plea is that “Nobody should have to die for lack of a chance to survive. All victims must be offered basic support by an all knowing community that responds with due care so that nobody dies in vain”.