Every day in a retail environment, there is a customer that isn’t satisfied, and most of them won’t say anything about it. The ones that take a stand, and ask for a manager are the ones that make companies practice better customer service. The ones who don’t say anything to the managers are not helping us fix the problem.
Unbelievably, most companies are really trying to provide the best possible customer service. What really counts is the way we handle the complaints as they come in. Remember, if you mishandle one customer complaint, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will talk to their friends and family about it.
When a “hard case” comes along you really have to take control of the situation. Customers can be really demanding, and how you talk to them, or handle the situation can result in loss profits for the company. Most managers don’t step out of their little box, and think of the situation at hand. When you have an issue that happens frequently, well, you can shoot from the hip, and probably be okay. Every case is different in one way or another, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the same tactic to solve similar cases.
The case I’m going to talk about is a pharmacy issue that could have been a complete nightmare. I’m not going to disclose my place of business, for obvious reasons, but I will tell you what, I get plenty of practice handling customer complaints.
I had a customer come to my pharmacy around 9 P.M. to pick-up her medication. As always, she was in a rush to get home, and she needed her blood pressure pills. When she arrived at the pick-up counter to pay for her medication, the technician told her it was out-of-stock. Now, let me give you a little background on how pharmacists and technicians work. They frequently make customers mad, and they just pass it off to a manager, “like they did nothing wrong.” Therefore, by the time I get there you can only imagine how mad this customer was.
The first words out of this woman’s mouth were, “your pharmacy has got the worst pharmacy I’ve ever been to, not to mention how ‘rude’ they were to me!” Right off the bat I’m thinking of scenarios that could have happened. The first thing I always do is “apologize,” and I calm her down so I can find the underlying cause of this issue. Well, I let her vent, and about five minutes passed by before I realized what happened. The technician was rude to her, and we should have called her about the out-of-stock medication. I told her that she was right, and she had every right to be mad. Then I sat her down, and I proposed some options to her, and by the time I was done, she was please at how I handled the situation, but she was still fumigated with the pharmacy staff.
When I went back in to the pharmacy, I immediately started to call other stores in my area. When I found the medication I was looking for, I sent one of my employees over to get it. Now, I handled the out-of-stock problem, but the customer satisfaction issue was still there. When the medication arrived, she had a co-pay of ten dollars. The least I could do for here was to give her a twenty-five dollar gift card, and pay for her medication. Needless to say, she left happy, and our pharmacy really hurt us that night, but I did everything in my power to make it right. The pharmacy is one of the most stressful work environments, and the customers are very difficult to deal with, especially when it comes to their medications. Nothing good will happen by being rude to a customer; all you’re doing is costing the company more money.