How to Improve Your Customer Service Skills in the Pharmacy


by Gismari Mantovani, CPhT

Increasing revenue through customer attraction is a challenge for every business.
What sets your pharmacy apart from the competition is the quality of service you provide to your customers.

I believe every person in the pharmacy field would love to hear that there is a fairy dust one can sprinkle around, and like magic, they would deliver exceptional customer service.

I will have to break the bad news: there is no such thing, but there is willingness, effort, and constant practice and training to provide excellent customer service. The good news is that anyone can learn those skills.

For every business to succeed, owners are the first to step up and provide staff with the necessary customer service training. The service you provide to your pharmacy customers will ultimately affect how they feel about their experience and how likely they are to return to your pharmacy.

For a matter of such high importance, well-trained staff in the area of customer service is a worthy investment in your business.

The pharmacy technicians maintain a healthy pharmacy behind the scenes with their organizational and inventory management skills. Customer service keeps your customers returning, helps you build a relationship with your community, and allows your pharmacy to compete.

It takes more than a smile to provide good service to customers. Critical and creative thinking help you to provide optimum customer service while carrying out the duties and demands of the job.

In the world of healthcare, satisfied customers are the name of the game. Working as a team with pharmacy staff is the first step in providing excellent customer service. Here are nine tips for outstanding customer service in a setting that will help you be successful.

1. Be Friendly, Welcoming, and Helpful.
Never underestimate the power of being friendly and helpful to your potential clients. A warm greeting as customers approaches the counter goes a long way toward making them feel comfortable and valued. Being openly helpful and ready to serve sends the message that the pharmacy cares.

2. Listen Before You Speak.

Whenever a customer comes into the store, always take the time to listen to customers. It may not seem like much, but people appreciate it when you listen. It takes some patience and practice but listening more than you speak goes a long way in providing excellent customer service.

3. Show Your Appreciation.
A key element of customer retention is appreciation, which can be achieved in several ways.
A reward program or a thank you note as your customers leave your store is a great way to show them how much you appreciate their business.

4. Ask For Feedback.
While your customers do not always tell you about their negative experiences, you should take the time to ask them how things are going before it is too late. Providing an opportunity for your customers to give feedback is an excellent way to improve your service.

5. Go the Extra Mile.
If you want to set yourself apart, you need to be willing to go the extra mile for your customers.
Providing extraordinary customer service does not take a lot of time, but it does take some effort. Do not overlook the basics when training your staff. These efforts do not cost a thing, but if you show that you care about your customers, you might win their business for life.

6. Prepare in Advance.

The lines at a pharmacy can get busy, and this is a make-or-break customer service situation for many customers. Keeping any possible delays to a minimum ensures that your pharmacy can provide the customer service they expect.

7. Protect Customer Privacy.
The HIPAA law prohibits health service providers from revealing the medical information of the customers' privacy, and guidelines show what you should say to a customer when they come in.

8. Identify and Handle Difficult Pharmacy Customers.
You cannot expect every customer to have a perfect experience every time. It is imperative to stay calm and focused, to listen to what the customer is saying, identify and acknowledge it, and offer the best solution possible.

9. Know How to Survive a Bad Customer Encounter at the Pharmacy.
Choose your battles and learn to let it go by working with your Pharmacist and Manager to change flaws in the system. It may be possible to win back the customer's trust by acknowledging situations that were not handled well the first time and accepting the need to improve.

I've only scratched the surface here, but there are many other skills I've not touched on. What would you add? What skills have you focused on in your career, and what has worked in getting customer results?