For some people, having medical prescriptions delivered to their doorstep is just a convenience, saving them a trip to the pharmacy and often a considerable wait before they can pick up and go. However, for others delivery to the door could really be a matter of life or death. If someone is very ill and/or physically incapable of getting themselves to and from the druggist, prompt home delivery is crucial.
One company that has recognised this situation and is building a reputation for rapid and dependable service is the Durham-based cooperative Norchem. Peter Batty, CEO of the company, is largely responsible for its success. All of his approximately 250 staff are partners in the enterprise and have a share in the profits they generate – £650,000 in 2011, on a turnover of £33m.
Batty’s previous experience in managing wine shops and pubs has afforded him some useful insight into the real value of customer service, and he is passing it along to individuals and businesses in the northeast of England. Since pharmaceutical prices in the UK are government regulated, he needed a different incentive to gain his customer base, and outstanding service is the key factor in that endeavor.
Customers can call a Norchem pharmacy with their prescription information and that prescription will be picked up from the source, put together at the pharmacy and delivered to the customer, all as a free service;Norchem also picks up the 99p per item NHS charge. If the order is for just one item, there’s no profit for Norchem, but many customers with chronic illness rely on a slew of pharmaceuticals, so dependable service becomes a money-maker.
A fleet of 17 vans modified to protect against theft of the contents has been added recently with a view to improving security, as many prescription drugs are hot tickets on the black market. Most customers can expect their order within 24 hours or sooner, a major bonus for almost anyone.