An insight into the novel work of Alitam member Joe Haire.

The original Kissanes pharmacy, established by Joe Haire’s grandfather (pictured here), has been a hub of the local Graiguenamanagh community for 100 years. All the more powerful then that under Joe’s watchful eye this, and his 5 other pharmacies, are applying the latest innovative metrics and approaches to business management. Joe is pioneering a data-driven strategy with his business, one which is yielding tremendous results. “Joe is showing us just how business-critical customer service is for pharmacy, and he’s doing this with real, live data,” says Alitam founder Feisal Nahaboo. “He’s also accrued great wisdom with regards to running a small pharmacy group. It’s very inspiring to see how the investment in staff development and team cohesion has transformed his business over the years. Now, as part of Alitam, Joe will gain even greater returns by enhancing his service offering. The rewards of his participation, for all of us, will be tremendous.”

A desire to make a difference

With 6 thriving, rural pharmacies under his aegis, Joe is candid about his success. “The pharmacist is the product,” he says. “We are hands-on, influencing therapy choices and outcomes. Pharmacies can make a serious difference to community healthcare, just by paying great attention to the needs of their patients. I quadrupled the size of my original pharmacy business through this alone.” It was in the process of replicating this ethos of outstanding customer service across his stores, that Joe discovered the power of a set of firmly established group values. “From joining Kissanes until leaving, all our staff perform in alignment with our core beliefs.

These are broadly that our exceptional pharmacist-led teams deliver the very best personal care for customers’ health and well-being every time someone walks through the door. So no matter which store you find yourself in, you’ll find contented staff giving you lots of care and attention, driven by a desire to make a difference to your life.”

People first

Furthermore, Joe describes his business as putting ‘people first.’ He explains, “So much effort goes into recruiting the very best people and building a close-knit team; people learn from each other and they’re empowered to come up with ideas and policy changes. Everyone from the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, to the sales team and store managers, is valued for their vital input. We’re always learning, always developing. All of which means customers get the best service possible and our business thrives.”

Innovative metrics

Joe is using metrical analysis to track something hitherto seen as nebulous: the level of care delivered in store. “We track the number of pharmacist touchpoints with patients,” he explains. “We track where they happen – at the counter, in the consultation room or over the phone. We also track with the customer the quality of the consultation process. Empathy is the key to the success of those pharmacists and pharmacy staff. And with patient interactions we’re actually measuring how happy people are with the quality of service. In all, it’s clear that what people want is an enriching time with the pharmacist and his or her team. So everything we do is oriented towards providing that.”

Joe also measures the performance of his staff, and is passionate about their development. They are challenged to be the very best version of themselves for their teams and their customers and are largely self-motivated. “We pride ourselves on the efficiency of our team,” he says. “And by measuring progress, we can keep enhancing that, giving team members the stimulating careers they crave. Currently, all my staff are undergoing a ‘Mental Fitness’ training programme provided by the pioneering Pharmacist Coach, Rachel Dungan. This will empower all my staff to minimise burnout, develop leadership capacity and deepen further our connections with our customers.”

The future is Alitam

Given his track record in business innovation, Joe is understandably excited about the future with Alitam. “I’m really looking forward to learning from the massive experience and knowledge of the Alitam membership,” he enthuses. “Oonagh O’Haagan is one such member with whom I’m already working. She’s incredibly talented and I’m benefitting from her considerable skill and insight. I’m highly committed to passing on my nuggets of wisdom too. It’s through this seamless collaboration that we’re building something remarkable.”

“We know pharmacies have to be innovative now,” he continues, “not dependent on the state for revenue. There’s no control over what you’ll get paid, it’s hard to predict income. With the group power of Alitam I can at last get more private services off the ground, such as cardiac and chronic disease risk management, addiction support and many more. This is where the demand is growing, many of the health needs of our customers aren’t currently being met in their own local communities, and with the right support they are willing to invest in their health. The demand is there for the broad range of skills that pharmacists have and in Alitam pharmacies of the future we will deliver those skills and meet that demand.”

He smiles, “The crucial part is that we are keeping our identity within the community, keeping our value system based around exceptional care from a trusted pharmacist. The future is definitely Alitam, and it’s very bright indeed.”

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