‘I don get alert’ Is the first line of the popular ‘god win’ song. It pays homage to the proliferation of SMS alerts employed by banks. The use of alerts or ‘BulkSMS’ has risen in popularity and usage over the last few years. This is not just limited to banks. Many people who do events, or want to contact a large number of people simultaneously employ bulkSMS. From big online retailers like Konga to small local churches, its use is now ubiquitous. This is quite a smart move as over 98% of SMS are said to be opened. Even those annoying unsolicited ones the network provider sends are still opened by most. This is a key advantage of SMS with the added benefit that all phones are able to receive SMS. SMS is also relatively easy to deliver (with the right provider), making it a most advantageous tool to keep your business at the fore of a customer’s mind.
Many pharmacists have observed this trend and are starting to collect their patients’ information which they use to send bulk messages. These messages are often sent on specific health days, giving the patient health tips or encouraging them to take some sort of health seeking action. This development is a good advancement that helps the pharmacist fill the role of providing good pharmaceutical care and health information to patients.
One issue however that develops is: how does the pharmacist improve upon and differentiate it’s quite useful message from the myriad of other annoying messages people receive? Most people are so disturbed by these random messages that they barely read them any more and often delete them once received. There is however one type of SMS that most people never delete and are usually happy to receive. I alluded to it at the start: Bank alerts! You almost always read your bank alerts and are satisfied that you received them. You’d probably complain if you don’t receive them and likely hum to yourself – ‘I don get alert’.
The question thus is, what features do bank SMS’ have that can be incorporated to the pharmacists message that would improve it’s impact and importance. So that your patients will be disappointed when they don’t receive them.
- Personalization – Bank messages do so well because they’re personalized. They tell you about your account and what has happened to it. They don’t tell you the average withdrawals of that day from all accounts like yours. So to improve your message, make it more personal to that particular patient. Instead of telling them about world hypertension day, alert them that the amlodipine they’re taking is important and about to run out in a certain number of days.
- Timeliness – Bank messages do well because they’re timely. When a withdrawal is made from your account, the message alerting you is sent more or less immediately, making it useful to you at that time and reinforcing the care the bank places on the security of your funds. Similarly for your messages, ensure it is sent as soon as possible so that the patient hasn’t forgotten about you by the time your message arrives. Make the time between their visit to your pharmacy and when they receive the message as short as possible. This reinforces in the mind of the patient their importance and the care you have for them.
- Relevance – Your bank hardly inundates you with messages that don’t concern you. They usually make sure what they send is relevant and useful to you. Same with your messages, it has to be relevant to your patient such that they can act on the information you send them. So sending messages alerting them come for an upcoming refill at the exact time they’re drug is finishing, sets you apart in their mind and will make them return to you again and again.
These 3 tips will certainly help you delight your patients using SMS over and over again and keep them loyal to your pharmacy. In no time you’ll be opening other stores to cater to the demands of your loyal and satisfied patients.
Contact us at Health Tech/ Wella Health if you need any help implementing the above tips easily into your current pharmacy practice.
Share your comments below on your experience with SMS in your practice.