Let’s bring human elements back to human interactions – part three

January 4, 2017By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

A three-part blog series by Brittany Benson, manufacturer research specialist

This is the last post in this series where I examine the human interaction element of the shopping experience. The impetus for this blog series was a few articles I recently read that made me realize how the connection and compassion that can only be offered in store should be a focus for you and your staff.

One article I read was about entitled consumers. It outlined the growing norm that many shoppers are researching products prior to entering your store. I would add that they also research conditions and symptoms they or a family member may be experiencing. Whether educated correctly or not, consumers are entering your store at many different knowledge levels and looking for you and your staff to help them address their needs.

How do you accomplish this?

  • Train your staff in communication styles, and empathy, listening, and non-verbal skills.
  • Give your staff the necessary resources and permission to find information the consumer is looking for. Encourage customer interaction when the customer is eager to learn more. Also teach your staff how to encourage conversation with customers who may not be so willing to initially discuss their shopping needs.

This article goes on to discuss the blur of the lines between consumers’ interaction with digital and physical store experiences. I think social media has "blurred the lines" of what it means to interact with someone. There’s something much more special about another human being stopping to talk with you rather than receiving a message from them on social media, text, or email. You can’t make eye contact with me via a text message, but, you can make eye contact with me when I shop in your store and am looking to solve a problem.There’s something special about another human being stopping to talk with you

In my opinion, it doesn’t matter anymore what industry you’re in, consumers are more demanding and expect a lot, even if it may be unreasonable sometimes (okay, a lot of the time). Learning how to communicate with others, in order to positively add to each customer experience while in your store, will go a long way in building your store’s culture.

Tabitha Burcham, Ph.D.’s article played well into my thought process. It is all about applying behavioral science concepts to understanding your consumer. Tabitha analyzed customer retention data and verified that “emotion drives motivation.” You can’t get any more human than that! Pharmacist interaction on a personal level goes a long way in building customer loyalty. In other words, if you take the time to show you care, people we will come back to your store the next time they have a concern. Do that enough times, and a relationship begins to form. Tabitha offered some great ideas in her article about how to accomplish this in your pharmacy. I highly encourage you to read it.

There’s nothing more reliable than asking a professional at a pharmacy about what I should try in order to fix this or that ailment. Will you be there for your customers, or will they have to rely upon your competitor…or a Google search?