“Customers are never an interruption.” Yeah, right.

December 29, 2015By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Jen Johnston

“Customers are never an interruption.” What do you think about that phrase? I think it is a big, fat lie. Of course customers are an interruption! As a pharmacist, you are doing a million different things, and when a patient suddenly interjects his- or herself into your rhythm, that is just plain disruptive. Your store staff likely feels the same way when they are busy stocking shelves or cleaning the store.

However, customers should never feel like they are an interruption. After all, they are the reason your pharmacy exists. The following is an exercise you can do with your staff to help them remember how to handle interruptions gracefully.

Have them consider the typical pharmacy shopper: a woman with children and job responsibilities. She enters your pharmacy mid-day and begins browsing the cold and allergy section directly in front of your pharmacy counter.interaction with the customer


Have them imagine they are in the midst of tidying a small product display in the front of your store. Of the following choices, ask them how they would initiate an interaction with the customer:

  • Smile and make eye contact
  • Say hello and ask if you can help her find anything
  • Walk around behind the pharmacy counter so that your back is not turned to the customer and then stay within sight so you are available to answer questions
  • Any of the above

Depending on the precise circumstances, any or all of the above approaches would be appropriate. Whatever accomplishes the goal of acknowledging the customer and making her feel comfortable and welcome is effective. That means putting aside stocking shelves when a customer comes into the store. Customers are the reason your store is in business. Even if they are an interruption, they should never be made to feel that way!

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