Customer Service

After spending twelve years working with the public, I know a thing or two about customer service. The old saying goes, “the customer is always right.” Well, that is not always true. I am going to use my experience in working in the pharmacy as an example of poor customer attitude.

Most of the public has no idea how their insurance works. The insurance dictates the price to charge the patient for his or her medication. Not the pharmacy, unless they are paying without having insurance. I had one, for lack of a better term, gentleman, scream and use profanity at me because he had a very high copay. Nearly a thousand dollars if I remember correctly. He swore up and down that I was messing up the price of his prescription. I went so far as to run his prescription under the cash price and then again under his insurance. I did this to demonstrate that the insurance was picking up a little piece of the cost. He did not believe me. I advised him to contact his insurance and see if he had a deductible to meet. He finally stormed out of the store, without his medication. Several hours later he came back and apologized indirectly at me. Meaning he asked another employee to pass the apology along. He stated that I was right, he had a deductible to meet, which he found out after contacting his insurance company.

People will also complain about the wait time, which we usually told them it would take roughly twenty to thirty minutes to fill their prescription. A lot of them scoff at that time line and make remarks such as, “can’t you just put a label on it?” In short, no we can’t. There are people who are in front of you that we have to work on. We have to enter the data in the computer, electronically contact the insurance with the information and get a copay back or if the customer is unlucky, the medication may require a prior authorization. Meaning that the insurance wants the doctor to contact them and explain why he or she prescribed that particular medication versus something comparable that the insurance company is willing to pay for. In this case the doctor will either make the effort to get the medication authorized, which can take up to three or four days, or the doctor will change the medication to something else. These kind of things take time. The medication also has to be counted or poured out into the proper container and then checked by the pharmacist to insure it is the correct medication and that it will not interact with any other medications the person is on. So, the long and the short of it is, we can not simply place a label on it.

The list goes on as to what customers will complain about. And unfortunately some companies in a way, encourage such belligerent behavior by giving the complaining customer monetary compensation. Such as twenty five dollars in store credit. Kind and patient customers are not rewarded for being good patrons and allowing the employees to do their job in a safe and timely manner. One does not want the pharmacist to mess up or miss something vital in filling the medication that could cause adverse reactions to the patient. Being rushed and bullied could cause such mistakes to occur. Then a lawsuit would be on the establishment’s hands.

It is my opinion that well behaved and loyal customers should be the ones to be rewarded. Not these customers who switch pharmacies just for some promotional discount, for instance twenty dollars store credit for having a prescription transferred from one pharmacy to another. These kind of people are just abusing the system and do not necessarily intend to become regular patrons.

If everyone worked with the public for one month, I believe, hopefully, that there would be more respect between employee and customer interactions. Treat others as you would want to be treated.