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Introducing: The Lumistry Platform. Learn more here!

Introducing: The Lumistry Platform. Learn more here!


5 Ways to Optimize Your Pharmacy IVR

LAST UPDATED 07/03/2024

Interactive Voice Response (IVR), a digital phone system that automates and routes calls, has become a mainstay for independent pharmacies. In addition to streamlining inbound and outbound calls, IVR can save staff time with self-service options. Most importantly, IVR systems create a user-friendly, personable customer experience by seamlessly directing patient queries and automating customer service. Here are five ways to optimize your pharmacy IVR:

1. Personalize your phone greetings

Many IVR systems allow you to record your own greetings, which can add a layer of warmth and personality to the phone call. Be creative in your choice of greetings to add extra “oomph” and enhance the personal touch. Also, remember to promote your pharmacy and showcase your brand.

With Lumistry® IVR, you can use greetings to announce any special offers, seasonal updates like Medicare open enrollment consultations, upcoming store closures, holiday hours, and sales. Adding short blurbs about your products and services is also a great marketing tool, especially for patients who mostly interact with you over the phone.

Along with custom messages, consider scheduling greeting scripts and music to change at different times of day, such as during your staff’s lunch break. A special after-hours message with store hours, website information, and instructions for submitting refill requests keeps your business going even when your store is closed. You can even load and manage your own “on hold” music or create a custom promotional message for customers.

2. Design user-friendly call menus

The quickest path to a user-friendly IVR experience is a clear and concise call menu. Start by researching callers’ top reasons for contacting your pharmacy. Next, use them as a baseline for creating a customized call menu.

Instead of including all store and location information in your greeting, keep things simple with a call menu option. For example, have “Store hours” or “Store information” options so patients won’t have to wait. Hearing the same information over and over again every time someone calls in can get redundant.

Create a self-service menu option that allows them to submit refill requests and check the progress of any prescriptions, eliminating the need for extra calls. With Lumistry IVR, pharmacies can add a prescription status check option to call menus.

The order that you choose for menu items matters as well. Start with the most specific choices, like “Diabetes Specialized Care Center,” and leave options such as “Speak To a Pharmacy Staff Member” until last. This will help cut down on the number of transfer calls and improve your customer experience by getting them exactly where they need to go as soon as possible.

3. Improve the call process for healthcare providers

Patients aren’t the only ones you’ll want to optimize your pharmacy IVR system for. Physicians and doctors often don’t want to wait, so make sure to put provider call options near the top of your call menu.

To ensure prompt pickups, consider setting a special ringtone for providers, which will alert your staff to the call. Lumistry IVR even allows you to give physicians and doctors preferential treatment by bumping them up the call queue.

You’ll also want an IVR system with the capacity to store voicemails indefinitely for easy recall and validation. Rather than requiring certified techs or pharmacists to pick up all provider calls, a voicemail feature makes it easy for staff to pass prescription orders on to the pharmacist check station. Store voicemail long-term or simplify your reporting and auditing processes by saving hard copies of provider messages for future reference.

4. Optimize your pharmacy IVR with call workflows 

The best IVR solutions are ones that support day-to-day pharmacy operations for a more efficient workflow. Look for solutions that integrate directly with your Pharmacy Management System (PMS).

This can help you:

  • Process refill requests seamlessly.
  • Automatically call customers with prescription updates and reminders.
  • Connect with healthcare providers and insurance companies efficiently. 
  • Access patient profiles and prescription information during calls instantly.
  • Connect incoming faxes with your PMS to reduce scanning, printing, and waste.
  • Look for IVR systems that offer unlimited lines and consolidate your phone system to reduce costs and simplify your contact center. 

This way, your phone system can scale with you, and patients won’t have to deal with a busy signal when they call.

Another feature to take advantage of in your current system is multi-location transfer, if you plan to open additional stores. This will allow you to connect multiple pharmacy locations through IVR for better communication and smooth caller transfers.

5. Create call reports & monitor analytics

Utilize call analytics to track call volumes, wait times, and common issues. This data can help you make informed decisions about optimizing your IVR setup as well as making necessary adjustments to your store hours or staffing when needed. 

URAC or ACHC-accredited specialty pharmacies should seek out features such as built-in call reporting to keep up with industry requirements and regulations. Solutions like Lumistry IVR provide both raw data and specifically formatted reporting for pharmacies that need to meet certain metrics.

See why thousands of pharmacies trust Lumistry® IVR for their patient communications.

If your IVR isn’t capable of supporting the strategies outlined above, or you haven’t yet implemented an IVR system, we’re here to help. Learn more or see it in action through a 1:1 demo today.