By Angela Pinkstaff for our “99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy” blog series

A large specialty chain was moving into a new community, and there was very vocal opposition from residents about the threat the chain might pose to local businesses. Rather than skirt the issue, the store opened its doors to the community at its grand opening and encouraged shoppers to leave comments – good and bad – in a comment box. Then the retailer posted all of the comments on a public bulletin board for all to see, and went a step further by providing an answer or response to each comment.

The impact was immediate and profound. The store’s actions expressed to the community that they were not a competitor, but a partner. The store proved that it was committed to the neighborhood and to serving its customers. And by sharing and responding to customer comments, the store said directly to its shoppers, “You matter.” All that from a simple comment box!

comment boxAsking your shoppers what they think about your store can unveil a wealth of information you may not otherwise have. Collecting their feedback might reveal opportunities for you to review your assortment and add products your shoppers demand; you might receive confirmation that a new idea your team has been discussing would be welcomed by your community. You will also benefit from the negative comments, which offer you the opportunity to objectively review your operations and consider improvements.

Whatever suggestions your shoppers leave, make sure you respond to every one. Individual replies can be time consuming to provide, but go a long way toward establishing a positive rapport with your shoppers. If you start to notice that different shoppers are leaving the same comment, follow a cue from the large retailer I mentioned and gather the comments together on a “You Asked, We Answered” board to address queries in a time-efficient way.

Accepting and responding to your customers’ feedback will provide valuable insights for you, and will help develop a true sense of community in your store.

Angela Pinkstaff


Angela leads the business development team in their efforts to build relationships with manufacturer clients across the health, beauty and wellness categories. In addition, she develops and implements strategic partnerships with clients to create growth and revenue in the retail and wholesale channels.

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