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3 Things to Remember in Customer Service as a Pharmacy Technician

Customer service is a vital tool in any career field, because it ensures customers are being treated with respect and their needs are met. Employers seek out individuals with this skill set to add to their team.

Proper customer service goes a long way and bad customer service goes even further. Inside or outside the pharmacy, the simple truth is that customers remember and share negative experiences more often than positive ones. While it may be frustrating to be answering the same questions all day long, follow the golden rule and treat others like you want to be treated. It is also okay to be frustrated, but do not let your frustrations be projected onto the customer.

Challenges that Arise in Customer Service

It seems nowadays that everybody is in a hurry. They seem to have an “I want and I want it NOW” attitude. Although there are true emergencies in hospitals and pharmacy technicians and pharmacists must react to them with calm, in an outpatient setting, there is not an emergency.

A parent may be at your window with a sick child and is frustrated from the doctor visit and the day in general and may also just want the medication so they are trying to hurry you like it is an emergency, however, this is not an emergency. The best thing you can do in this situation is to tell the parent that you will fill the medication as soon as possible and to genuinely smile at them. A little smile goes a long way in the world of customer service.

What to Remember with Customer Service

Yes, the patient or parent of the sick child would like their medication quickly, but I guarantee you they will want the medication to be correctly filled. If you hurry, it is far more likely that you will make a mistake as opposed to taking the time you normally take to fill a medication.

Many people think the world of customer service is just talking to the person at the window, it is also ensuring the patient gets the right medication, right dose, and right amount with the proper directions for consumption. In the end, the patient may not be happy with how “fast or slow” the pharmacy was, but the patient will be thankful for the medication. As they are leaving, you can tell them to have a nice day and that will stick in their mind later on.

What to Do and Not Do with Customer Service

I had a patient talk to me the other day about the terrible customer service experience he had with a different worker in the pharmacy. This patient has Parkinson’s disease and some of the medication he was taking was on back order. At this point he had been out of the medication for one week and as a result was experiencing seizures because he was not able to take the medication. He called the pharmacy and asked when he would receive it in the mail. The pharmacy technician told him “when it gets in” with an attitude.

This is NOT the correct response in any situation.

I am sure the technician was busy and had probably answered that question multiple times throughout the day. Nevertheless, this still does not justify the response they gave. The proper way to respond is to sincerely say something to the effect of “we are unsure at this time when your medication will be in; however, as soon as we get it in, we will get it filled and in the mail to you. I am sorry you are experiencing this lack of medication and hope to get you the medication soon.” It may take longer to say, but will go a long way toward making the patient feel better.

A boss once told me, when you smile while talking on the phone, the person on the other side will hear your happiness through the phone.