Resolution: Better connect with my customers

May 30, 2017By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies

By Lisa Lopez, data assets associate,  for the Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies blog series

Your customers are critical to your store and the better you can connect with them, the stronger your business becomes. I’ve been a certified pharmacy technician for 18 years. Even though I work full-time at HRG and I’m a mom, I continue to work a few shifts a month because I enjoy helping the people in my community and making a difference in someone’s day. If I can turn one person’s day around who came into the pharmacy not feeling well, I leave with a happy heart. I am always trying to find ways to better connect with my customers. All it takes is extra attention to detail, and willingness to go a little above and beyond your job responsibilities.

When I work behind the pharmacy counter, I pay attention to the types of prescriptions I am filling for a customer to try to make a more personal interaction when they are picking it up. For instance, if they have been prescribed an antibiotic, I’ll make a point to say, “I hope you better connect with customersfeel better soon.” I try to take note of what I’m filling, so if someone comes in with a prescription for pain medication because they just got a tooth pulled, I do my best to fill that faster than an order for someone else that is picking up their maintenance drug. I also pay attention to price. As we know, there are prescription medications that can be quite costly. I take the time to prepare customers in these cases, before I ring it up, so they are aware and can decide if they need to look into it further, or need help investigating other options.

I think you make a better connection with customers when you use their first names. Remembering their name is a small effort that carries a lot of meaning. Greet them by name, but balance it with being able to read their body language to know if they are open for more conversation or are in a hurry, or aren’t looking for assistance on that particular trip. Some customers come in on a mission and want to get what they came for and get out. We’ve all had those occasions where there’s something else that is going on that makes a brief trip necessary.

Being a mom, I also take note of parents who may be struggling with an unruly child and try to help if possible. A great idea is to have some items behind the counter that you can hand out to kids to help keep them occupied during the wait. A coloring book and crayons, stickers, or other little inexpensive toys that can be either used while they are in the store, or they can take with them, can often be the prescription for an impatient little one. I recently had to take my daughter to urgent care and while we waited she was allowed to take something from the “treasure chest” they had there. That was a welcome distraction, let me tell you!

A few other ideas to build stronger connections with customers include answering the phone before it rings more than three times. I try not to put anyone on hold, if possible. Also, if something goes wrong, acknowledge it and apologize. If someone is already frustrated and they’re not feeling well, I try to give them a little more attention and spend extra time  with them.

These may seem like small things, but it’s usually the small demonstrations of kindness and consideration that have the biggest impact.