Retailers in 2021 took on the challenges of the year – uncertainty from lockdowns and operational restrictions – by finding new ways to engage and delight customers in-store.

TerryWhite Chemmart was faced with the challenge of continuing to provide essential services for the health and wellbeing of the people it serves, as well as participating in the nationwide COVID vaccine rollout.

“TerryWhite Chemmart’s quick work to provide brilliant customer service for the vaccine rollout would be a remarkable achievement in an ordinary year,” said Jerry Macey, Commonwealth Bank’s Head of Consumer and Diversified Industries. “It’s all the more impressive considering the stresses retail and health spaces have faced with COVID variants and moves to keep the spread in check.”

In developing its COVID-19 vaccine rollout strategy, TWC relied on a multipronged Vaccination Excellence Program that focused on the ease, accessibility, and professionalism of receiving a vaccination in a pharmacy. This included learning and development to support pharmacy teams in delivering the vaccines and answering questions from hesitant customers, as well as operational support to ensure that patients received a high-quality experience at every step of their vaccination journey.

A key for the business was to not only spread the word about when and where people could receive their vaccination, but also provide a hassle-free booking experience. This type of support is above and beyond what customers expect from a community pharmacy.

“Our overarching strategy to drive vaccination uptake was twofold – removing all potential barriers to vaccine access and demonstrating leadership around vaccination,” said Nick Munroe, TWC’s Executive General Manager. “We used a task force dedicated specifically to supporting our network and customers through the pandemic. Our mission has continued to evolve as the pandemic has and they continue to operate as a first point of call for pharmacist immunisers.”

The results were strong. TWC say that, by mid-November, nearly a half million Australians had booked their COVID-19 vaccination at TWC’s nationwide vaccinating network of 365 pharmacies, the largest group of vaccinating pharmacies in the industry.

It also seems that customers found the experience a positive one. According to the TWC team, 10% more patients booked in for their second vaccination than their first, suggesting they recognised the ease and convenience of having it performed at a TWC pharmacy. TWC’s vaccine strategy also looks to have contributed to a strong trading performance.

The success of the rollout has changed how people view their community pharmacist. Before the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, the core demographic for a pharmacy was people above 50. “Now, younger people are coming in for their vaccine – close to half of all bookings are for patients under 39 – and are learning about the value a community pharmacy can provide,” said Mr Munroe.

It’s been a win all round for franchisees, too. Campbell McKay operates the TWC in Alexander Heights, WA. He says the communication from Support Office has given the team the confidence to deliver a fantastic service. “The workflow processes that TerryWhite Chemmart has provided streamlines everything from booking to submitting information to the Australian Immunisation Register and has been an absolute game changer. This alone has allowed us to embrace this service and maximise the number of patients we can vaccinate each day as well as accommodate walk-ins.”

Jerry Macey of CommBank says the win is a testament to the great work being done by CommBank customer TWC. “TerryWhite Chemmart won against some stiff competition in the retail space from organisations that have made significant changes to their operations. TerryWhite Chemmart is providing relevant experiences to customers not just because of COVID, but also adapting to the rapidly changing way that people shop. Every nominee should be proud of their accomplishments in the last year.”

Mr Munroe said the award win tops off what has been one of the most challenging and rewarding periods for the pharmacy industry.

“TerryWhite Chemmart has excelled in a period of disruption and uncertainty to create stronger customer experiences and help Australian pharmacies drive improved health outcomes in their communities. We thank CommBank for this acknowledgement and everything they are doing to support their local communities.”

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