Saturday, October 12, 2013

Customer Service

Even though my home town was fairly small when I was growing up there were still three or four drug stores. And, each had their own very dedicated customers. Dad was good friends with all the pharmacists in town, in fact the whole medical community was very close. This played well with Mom since she insisted Dad was in the "Medical Profession". Today I guess that could be code for trafficking in illicit substances. Bur, I digress.

A majority of folks were coming through the door to get their monthly medications, some were coming from their doctor's office feeling under the weather, and some were just in there to pick-up a random item or two. In addition to the band aids, cough syrup, aspirin, lotions, shampoo, and such, since the drugstore was right behind the hospital, Dad always had a good selection of gifts, boxes of candy, and Hallmark Cards for people to take patients they were going to visit.

Whether there were two or twenty customers in the store, Daddy was quick to make sure anyone who was either old or not feeling well did not have to wait. If there was going to be any delay, he was quick to find the customer, explain the situation and offer to have the medicine delivered to their home post haste. No matter how old or young, or socio-economic status, he always had time (or made time) to answer anyone's questions about their medicine.

There were the folks who were convinced. no matter how much Daddy tried to tell them otherwise, that their medicine would cost than if they bought it one week at the time. "Well how much is the 'scription for my heart pills?" "That will be $15." "$15! For how long?" That is a month's worth." "Well, I can't afford that, just give me enough for a week." "That's going to cost you $8." "I'm not paying $15. I'll just get it a week at the time. That'll be cheaper."  And, with that Daddy would walk around the counter and come to some agreement with the customer to make sure they got the full month's supply at one time to ensure they took it.

Older customers would call in, "I need my pink pills. Dr. Johnson is going to call in another prescription for my water pills. And, I got three more of those yellow ones, so I guess I need some of those also." Instead of saying anything ugly, we were all taught to get as much information we could, their name and phone number. Then after we hung up, pull out their file and see if it were possible to put the pieces together to figure what they needed based on what we knew.

Things got complicated when generic drugs came out. Daddy was quick to recommend them to his customers and try to get the doctors, much to the dismay of the drug reps, to write the prescriptions so they could be filled that way. He was always concerned about saving money for people, especially the poor and elderly, who often needed more medication and had less means.

However, generic drugs looked different, and when Mrs. Hydrick, who had been taking her blue capsule every morning for ten years, suddenly found herself with a bottle of orange tablets, she really had to trust Dad that it was going to keep her feeling as good. And, Daddy inspired that trust. He often said you have to listen to them before they will ever hear what you are saying.

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