Do Your Patients Really Come First?

We like to say we put patients first, but do we? Each and every time they visit?

Let’s face it. Who isn’t distracted by the perfection demands of billing, coding, dispensing, purchasing, stocking, verifying and the zillion other tasks that come along with being an independent pharmacist? Here’s a little refresher to help you polish and perfect your customer service, from PBA Health.

Top 3 Needs of Your Patients

1. Getting Their Scripts On Time

This is make or break for your business. Your patients expect their prescriptions to be ready at the time you’ve quoted. That means you’ve confirmed their meds are in stock, insurance has cleared, and you have all the necessary details you need so they can grab and go.

2. Communicating With Their Doctor

Establish a strong rapport with the physicians in your community. Providers will be more likely to return calls or address concerns quickly if they know you and your staff are reliable, responsible, and trustworthy professionals.

3. Going the Extra Mile

Taking the extra time to answer questions or follow up with insurance complexities shows you see your patients as people—and it means the world to them. And don’t overlook the basics when you’re training your team. Do you have staff members who are more comfortable texting or emailing? You might give them some tips on working with patients on the phone or in person, especially if your demographic is elderly.

Fortunately, you can teach service to your patients. You might use a consulting company, self-study video course, or other options. And don’t forget your local library, which also has loads of free resources. Here are some ideas to consider.

4 New Training Ideas

1. Use Role Play

Does anyone like role play? Nevertheless, it’s an effective way to build the empathy your staff members need to feel toward your patients. Give real-life situations and ask them to act as the customer as well as themselves. It will open their eyes to working with people who are sick, scared, stressed, or tired. Work with your employees on how to use positive language to reframe problems as opportunities.

2. Encourage Collaboration

Your patients might interact with you, but they just as easily could work with techs, bookkeepers, and others when they call or stop by your store. When everyone has excellent customer service skills, your business wins. If they don’t know the answer to a customer’s question? No problem. Train them to simply be honest, saying “I don’t know” or “Let me ask someone else,” and then actually return to the customer with either an answer or another staff member. Your customer will appreciate it.

3. Teach Stress Reducing Techniques

Taking a deep, cleansing breath, encouraging mindfulness and overall wellness can help your staff deal with their own stress. Learn these tips for yourself—and put them to use! Encourage short breaks or group stretch sessions at appropriate times. This will help everyone deal with the inevitable “Mr. Never Pleased” or “Mrs. Always Irritated.”

4. Nobody’s Perfect

Recognize less-than-ideal situations and acknowledge a need to improve—or better yet, offer a solution. You’ll likely win back the trust of that patient. Humility and a desire to continuously get better goes a long way toward building strong relationships and loyal customers.

A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.

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Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

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