Think Retail Blog
Providing professional customer service has been complicated by the many thousands of courses and books on the subject. It’s not difficult. In fact, it’s quite simple. The language has changed but the fundamentals remain the same and to my mind it is centred upon the P.E.R.S.O.N.A.L.
P stands for the professional: It is vitally important to personalise your job to perform it with a certain degree of passion, to project a sense of interest in it, to create and promote professional relationships with customers and colleagues alike. Simply put, it means doing your best.
E stands for efficiency: Each member of staff has a role and within that role a series of responsibilities. In order for the different aspects of the store to work cohesively every employee has to fulfil the responsibilities inherent in their role as efficiently as possible and where this is not possible to ask for the required assistance.
R stands for respect: Customers and colleagues alike deserve to be treated with respect with courtesy and good manners requiring no training but a firm commitment to treat others as you would wish to be treated.
S stands for smile; a friendly smile costs nothing and speaks volumes. A smile and cheery greeting welcomes and creates a good customer experience. It is important to greet customers and be responsive without being invasive.
O stands for options. Knowledge of your products will allow you to provide informed choices for customers, and offer you opportunities for linking sales.
N stands for name. Again back to the vital importance of building relationships especially within an environment such as a town where familiarity whilst remaining professional is possible.
A stands for appearance and attitude: A smart appearance in a pharmacy is essential, as customers judge how much you know by how professional you look. A good willing attitude is communicated through your interactions with customers and colleagues through speech, tone, and body language.
L stands for listening; actively, listening to customers provides you with the information to advise them on selecting the best product and price options for their needs and price range.
Life, Relationships, Work, are personal to us, we put our personality into all areas of our lives. When we make it personal we put our personal stamp on everything we do.
PROMOTING YOUR PHARMACY
To achieve success in any business you have to put the customer at the centre of everything you do. Providing satisfactory customer service is not enough you have to impress and wow your customers by going that extra mile. If you do not, your competitors will. Creating a great customer experience is not difficult when everyone in the business is committed to providing customer service to both external and internal customers. This means working as a team, and realising that although you may not be directly serving customers everything you do is supporting your colleagues in the front line.
The customer experience begins from the outside in, and in today’s digital world, from your online presence.
- - What does the customer see?
- - Is the outside of the building clean?
- - Is the lighting bright and working?
- - Is the signage effective?
- - Is your logo, your branding, visible?
- - Are the windows clean, is there a good visual display?
- - Is the shop door cluttered with notices and signs?
- - Overhead your shop, what image is that portraying?
- - As customers enter the shop is there a welcome mat with your logo?
- - Is the information on your website and on your Facebook page up to date?
- - What does the customer see and feel when they enter the pharmacy?
- - Are customers greeted by name (if known) and a friendly smile?
- - Are staff well presented, knowledgeable and friendly?
- - Is there clear signage and directions?
- - Are shelves well merchandised and clean?
- - Is the pharmacy well stocked?
- - Is the counter area clean and uncluttered?
- - Are the counter wells stocked with impulse buys changed, and cleaned weekly?
- - Are customers encouraged to browse if they have to wait for prescription?
- - Is the waiting area, clean, with seating, and opportunities for purchase?
- - Can customers clearly see and access the services you provide?
Giftwrapping Tips from The Giftwrapping Genie
When you take the time to Giftwrap a box with paper, you want it to look really smart. My tip is to use double sided tape for a professional finish. If you have to use sticky tape use sparingly and cover these with decorative ribbon.
Large or odd shaped articles need not be a problem. Wrap them in tissue and use fabric, netting, or paper tablecloths, finish off with a lovely bow.
If you take the time to wrap a present do put a bow on it.
When you are creating hampers, choose a theme colour or try to vary display with different colors, themes, boxes and cellophane bags.
Stoma care and ostomy care
Stoma care and Continence Care is an area of pharmacy business that can be developed. Patients and families struggle with these issues and because it is a sensitive personal subject people feel shame and quite often their concerns are not addressed. I know people go into pharmacies with the intention of seeking assistance and often leave without seeking that help, this is no reflection on pharmacy staff. I understand as I remember when I first received training in these subjects I was very turned off as a lay person not used to looking at very graphic wound images. However I continued with the training, and worked at developing this business with United Drug. I worked closely with specialised nurses and suppliers of continence and stoma care suppliers.
I had the opportunity to meet and help some of the patients and sourced products and accessories to improve the quality of their lives and in some cases restore their dignity. For one lady specially designed pretty stoma underwear sets helped her feel feminine again after the trauma of surgery. When family members had serious continence and stoma care issues I experienced at first hand the upset and trauma patients and their families can suffer dealing with these conditions.
Fortunately I know from my experience that there is a lot of support available to anyone that asks for help. The specialised nurses are available to assist with medical or product concerns. There is also a huge range of accessories available in the stoma, continence care, urology, and wound care areas. Fashionable underwear and swimwear is now available for Ostomates. There is no need to suffer in silence; the products, services and training are available.