Friendly & Helpful Go a Long Way


I was at my pharmacy recently when I witnessed a great customer service experience! Watching the situation unfold reminded me of basic but critically important customer service skills I emphasize with my touch point employees.

An elderly woman struggled to walk into the pharmacy and make her way to the pick up window, right in front of me. She thought she had a prescription filled and waiting for her. As it turned out, there was no prescription waiting. The pharmacy tech looked in several places for the prescription, including the online system, but didn’t find anything ready for the woman.

I could see that the woman was getting upset and was ready to walk out. The tech did an excellent job calming her down, and offered her a couple of ways to handle the situation. The woman begrudgingly picked one of the options. She left satisfied, even though she would still have to take an extra step of calling her doctor’s office the next day.

When problems arise, how the problem is handled is often more important than the issue itself. The situation I witnessed ended the best way possible but could have easily escalated if it had not been handled well.

The pharmacy situation is likely to happen relatively often in a pharmacy. The pharmacy tech was equipped with the knowledge of possible options to handle the situation and she was empowered to take action. Businesses should know the common problems that their customers can encounter and develop processes to quickly handle them. Touch point employees should be trained and empowered to handle those problems on the spot.

In addition to knowing some ways to handle the situation, the pharmacy tech remained friendly and helpful, two basic but critical service skills. Her friendly approach calmed the customer and her helpful attitude was able to move an unhappy customer toward a resolution. Finally, the tech delivered a sincere apology at just the right time. The customer was ready to hear and accept it. An apology delivered too early or too late would have felt insincere and may have even made the customer more upset.

Do the actions of your touch point employees truly mirror your customer service mission? Are your employees tasked merely with satisfying requests and problems, or are they working to develop long-term relationships?

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