Not since 1918 and the Spanish Flu in which 50 million people sadly passed away, have we seen such disruption as we see with the forever evolving COVID-19 crisis.
6AM Director Gillian Fish shares insights into her seminar for Pharmacy Guild #goldcross APP Conference 2020, livestreamed due to COVID-19.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), like COVID-19, is a viral respiratory illness that was recognized as a global threat in March 2003. Whilst isolation was recommended, the scale of the response by governments globally was not as swift and dramatic, with long reaching effects far beyond saving lives.
Today we find Pharmacists and Pharmacy Assistants together with Doctors, Nurses and other healthcare practitioners under unimaginable pressure – with essentials flying off the shelves and queues of citizens seeking testing for fear of catching the virus.
But, another crisis is looming – a mental health crisis, based on the fear of the impending economic crisis. According to an online survey of 1000 Australians by Newgate Research, March 10, 2020, more than 77% of respondents were either ‘quite’ or ‘extremely’ concerned about the overall economic impact, with deep pessimism about the impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
Small businesses in their thousands are under pressure due to sudden drop off in patronage, whole industries are in dire straits, for example hospitality. The fear of losing jobs is very real and the impact on families is deeply worrying – sadly this is a fact of living and working in tough economic times. Business owners need to do whatever it takes to survive.
So whilst Pharmacists are tasked now with the rush on medicines and keeping up the stock on hand sanitizers, for example, they are at the frontline of customer anxiety. Very real anxiety. And therein lies the opportunity.
To take time to stop, however busy, and listen and hear the needs of the customer. To get close to them, with authenticity, to understand what is really making them anxious, to support them with careful deep listening, and helping guide them during this time of crisis. These insights provide relevance and valuable guidance for Pharmacy marketing, to ensure that when we emerge from this initial panic, when the curve is flattened, but the likely economic recession settles in, Pharmacists have their customer firmly in their hands, based on the connection and care built during the heat of the health crisis.
So how do we bring this to life?
Opportunities abound for smart, affordable, quick marketing tasks across Social Media, PR / Public Relations and Digital.
Now is the time to start planning for the future in which the pharmacy remains competitive in a downturn. Stay safe all and thank you for being on the frontline and helping to protect all in Australia from COVID-19.