Be That Pharmacist

Recently I went to my local pharmacy to pick up some vitamins. The product I wanted was not on the shelf, so I asked the pharmacist about it. Turns out, another customer had ordered something similar to what I wanted but changed his mind, so I was able to grab it. This pharmacist paid close attention to me and wanted to do all she could, to make sure I was satisfied. She knows my kids, has children in the same school, and goes out of her way to ensure her customers walk away knowing they are each very important. When I have a question for her, she is sure to give me the time and consideration I need, to ensure I understand all I need to know about medication, both prescription and over the counter.

I have also been to other pharmacies where I filled the same prescriptions every month, seeing the same people each time. Yet, there is not the same level of friendliness. I have to give my name every time, verify my address, and offer my phone number or form of identification. The staff is very polite and competent, but they are not at all interested in me as an individual. There is no sense of community or interest in me as an individual.

Part of the difference is the size of the pharmacy. There are clearly more people who use a large retail establishment than a smaller, independent one, and it is easier for my local pharmacist to know more about me, given we run into one another in town on occasion. That said, her level of caring for each customer in the store does not vary, regardless of how well she knows the person. It is an expectation for her and her staff, to go out of their way to acknowledge every person who comes in, to follow up on their lives beyond the pharmacy. When a pharmacist works in an environment that feels like a conveyor belt, that disconnect may translate to how customers are treated and can impact future business. It is even more critical then, if you work in a larger location and cannot know your customers’ personal lives outside of the store, to demonstrate that extra level of courtesy and positivity.

Take an extra ten seconds to show genuine interest in the customer. Let us know we are valued and not just the next person in line. Use our first names if that is allowed; if I am picking up a prescription for a sick child, inquire how she or he is feeling. When I come every month for maintenance medication and you recognize my face but not my name, make small talk about it being nice to see me. Show sincerity and gratitude for choosing your store for business. Smile. Be That Pharmacist. You might find that your day is more fulfilling, too.

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