April 20, 2017
The way you treat your patients matters.
One mistake could turn away a patient forever and harm your pharmacy’s reputation.
Just ask United Airlines.
Word-of-mouth spreads like wildfire. And like fire, it can spark new growth or destroy well-laid foundations.
When your pharmacy makes customer service mistakes, your patients won’t have to be dragged out—they’ll volunteer to leave.
If you think your pharmacy’s customer service is a competitive advantage over the chains, then you need to make sure it’s first class. Avoid these customer service mistakes to keep patients for the long haul.
Nothing makes patients feel less cared about than brushing aside their genuine concerns.
Even when you’ve done everything right, approach each conflict with grace and empathize with patients’ frustration.
Always restate their problem in their words so they know you understand them.
Then, work toward a solution that demonstrates your desire to take care of their needs.
Showing kindness and validating patients’ concerns can make the difference between losing patients and gaining long-time loyalty.
Your patients interact with more than the pharmacist.
The entire staff should know how to engage with patients and embody your pharmacy’s brand. One ignorant employee could derail your customer service in an instant.
Train your employees on how to best communicate with patients, how to solve problems, and how to respond when they don’t know what to do.
Reward employees for great customer service through monthly recognition or incentives. Create a culture that values customer service and drive home its importance to your team.
Patients are your pharmacy’s best source of information on customer service—after all, they’re your customers.
So, ask them what they think.
Requesting feedback makes patients feel their opinion is valued and ensures your service addresses the heart of their needs.
And when you proactively invite feedback, you avoid conflict instead of encountering it.
Feedback also enables quietly dissatisfied patients to voice their frustration. Some patients simmer with anger and never say a word about it. Then one day, they never show up again.
Generate feedback from patients with these ideas:
Great customer service is about more than friendly interactions and problem resolution.
The key word is service.
Which means providing patients with a wide range of offerings to help them manage and improve their health.
If you aren’t serving patients’ needs through your products and services, chances are another pharmacy is.
What services can you offer that your patients want?
In-demand services your pharmacy can provide:
If you know John and Sally Smith by name, you’re retaining loyal customers. And that’s what you want.
But sometimes the effort to keep them happy alienates newcomers.
Be attuned to how much time you spend with each person. Do you talk to John about his life for 10 minutes, then abruptly hand a new patient his prescription without a word?
Some patients’ problems require more attention than others, but don’t prioritize one person over another simply because you know him better. You not only need loyal customers; you also need new ones.
Don’t outrage your paying customers. Delight them by avoiding these common mistakes.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned pharmacy services organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, propriety purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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