Pharmacy Customer Service

Pharmacy customers are not made through coupon cards, price matching, drive through windows and 10 minute prescription guarantees.  Customers are made and retained through real and meaningful attention to service.  Is the customer recognized when they walk into the pharmacy?  Does the customer feel as if they may approach their pharmacist with questions and is their pharmacist available to discuss their medical conditions with them?

I practice in an outpatient clinic pharmacy located next to a community hospital.  Yes, we do fill discharge prescriptions; however, our customer base comes from the local population.  These people have the option of utilizing one of the local Big Box pharmacies; however, for one reason or another, they go out of their way to come to our little store. 

Today I was fortunate to be present and experience my pharmacist partner provide a level of customer service indicative of a community pharmacy whose sole existence is dependent upon the provision of unparalleled customer service.

Last summer my partner attended a pharmacy trade show.  He always comes back with many different ideas on how we may better increase our front end sales with different devices and products.  This past year he brought back a functional and incredibly inexpensive blood glucose meter.  The beautiful thing about this particular meter, other than its complete ease of operation, was the fact that the test strips are very inexpensive.

Over the months we have sold quite a few of these devices and patients regularly come back to our store to purchase the test strips.  Today, one of our regular customers came in and was looking to purchase another one of these particular machines because he had misplaced his and, after looking everywhere, couldn't find it and thought he would just stop by and get another one. 

It just so happened that my partner took this particular situation (we are good about taking equal turns handling customer service issues that show up in the store).   After a brief discussion with the patient he realized that we were out of this machine on the shelf.  The patient still had a full box of test strips at home so he wasn't interested in another machine, besides, he really appreciated how he had been sold the first one and liked how it works.

After researching the issue on our wholesaler's website, we realized that the machine was no longer listed as an available product.  My partner got on the phone and called the manufacturer of the machine.  After a lengthy discussion about availability and options, the manufacturer stated that our wholesaler was still listed as a distributor of this particular machine.  He then called the wholesaler who, after another lengthy discussion about availability and options, stated that in fact this machine was no longer a product that they were carrying.

At this point he could have given up, let the patient know that it wasn't available, and then sold him another machine.  This isn't what happened.  My partner then persisted with the wholesaler, describing that he had been sold the machine at their trade show last summer, had purchased quite a few units, and had been selling them to patients.  He asked if perhaps one of the other divisions may still stock these blood glucose units.

After a bit of research, the wholesaler found another division that does stock these units and they would have a few of them shipped to us within a couple days from the other division.  The patient left the store satisfied that his needs had been met, with an increased trust that only comes from a satisfied customer experience.  This is what keeps patients coming back, not discount/transfer cards!

During this time, which was about 20 minutes start to finish, the customer was pleasantly sitting in the waiting area watching the pharmacy flow.  Patients would come and go, drop off and pick up prescriptions; we were answering other phone calls and still had time for counseling patients. 

Not only did my pharmacist partner provide fantastic customer service to this patient, we did it without interrupting the daily flow of the pharmacy. 

Thanks
Steve
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