Over the years, we've visited and worked with thousands of pharmacies and we've heard every excuse imaginable as to why a pharmacist or pharmacy technician can't do better with the flavoring service. We recognize and respect all feedback from our customers and their team members, but we know from experience that the most common objections can quickly be overcome with one simple solution.
Objection: There's No Demand
What everyone considers lack of demand for flavoring is really just lack of awareness. Parent's aren't going to ask for a service they don't know exists. Once they're made aware that they can have their child's medication flavored, chances are good they'll say yes when asked. There are pharmacies across the country that routinely flavor 5-10 medications each day. The demand is there.
Objection: Everything is Already Flavored
This is absolutely true. Every single liquid medication in the pharmacy comes preflavored by the manufacturer. What's also true is manufacturers, especially generics, add flavor as an afterthought. So the the taste isn't always great. A beneficial aspect of the FLAVORx program, which people don't often grasp, is choice. Amoxicillin tastes like bubblegum, and it doesn't taste bad. But little Suzy doesn't like bubblegum. Her favorite flavor is strawberry. With FLAVORx, you can cater to the specific tastes of your patents, which is huge when it comes to delighting customers and showing them you care.
Objection: It Takes Too Much Time
In 2002, flavoring took a lot of time - probably ten minutes from start to finish. No one has
that kind of time at their disposal today. Not your pharmacists, not your technicians, and especially not your customers. Fast forward 15 years and the process is now realistically down to 2 minutes or less. The formulary is online or available in a condensed, more user-friendly form, called the Smart Formulary. We measure in mL’s, not drops. The Flavor Wheel helps customers quickly identify the best taste options for their child’s medication. Fillmaster equipment is now integrated with FLAVORx to combine and automate reconstitution and flavoring. These new tools are all available to your stores to help optimize workflow and make flavoring medications a pleasure, not a pain.
Objection: No One Will pay For It
This objection is really all about selling, and pharmacists/technicians not wanting to be
perceived as salespeople, and not wanting to be told “No." The fact is, parents will pay for flavoring. There are 1,000+ store chains that are collectively flavoring 25% of their liquids and charge $2.99. There are pharmacies in some of the highest government assistance areas that flavor 500 medications a month and charge $2.99. The mentality that these stores have is not that they’re selling, but rather that they are solving a problem. Kids don’t like taking medicine. Parents don’t like giving kids their medicine. Your teams are offering them a better way. Yes, their time is valuable. Yes, the service is worth it. No, not everyone will say “Yes”. Whether they do or not, they’ll appreciate being given the option. Which is much better than customers going home, having a hard time getting their children to take medicine, only to realize after the fact that your pharmacist and technicians had a solution and didn't care enough to let them know.
What's the solution?
It starts with simply asking the question: "How would you like your child's medicine to taste?" every time an antibiotic suspension or liquid medication is dispensed. Getting your team to think of flavoring as a solution will help stop them from feeling like salespeople. Pharmacies that consistently flavor 25 percent or more ask this question. This means they're being told "no thanks" a lot too, but when your teams do hear "no" they can let the parent know they can always bring the medication back to be flavored later. This is how your team becomes problem solvers and trusted advisors in the eyes of the parents.
The important thing to remember is these objections are coming from your pharmacy team members, not your customers. Many pharmacists and technicians have hang ups about the flavoring service that may have been true at one point, but are no longer of concern. In most cases, the objections are simply misconceptions. All you need to ask of your teams is that they try. When they do, they'll see just how impactful the flavoring program can be on the overall customer experience.