The drugstore is one of the best places to meet various types of people with different personalities. The prescription area where I'm assigned gives me a bird's-eye view of everything happening inside the pharmacy as they unfold. Over the course of three years, I've met many customers and patients of varying ages and personalities and I can say I've learned a lot of customer service from dealing with them. Based on my experience, I would say there are essentially 5 types of customers who walk into the drugstore, can you find yourself among them?
The Patient Customer
They are the ones who line up in the drugstore and patiently wait for their turn to be attended to. They take time to listen during patient counselling and so they are able to receive important information about their medicine. They are the easiest customers to deal with, and the ones you're always motivated to serve better. As it is easy dealing with them, you get to bring out the best in your service and perhaps do an extra mile just to please them. These kind of customers are quite common in the drugstore and they make going to work worth looking forward to everyday.
The Talkative Customer
Customers who are quite candid in conversation are also common. Being talkative in the sense of being communicative is certainly a good thing especially if the customer is communicating the status of their health, how they are responding to their prescription medicines, and if they are experiencing any adverse effects with their drugs. These kinds of information are very important to us pharmacists because we are able to find out how effective their medication is and how well they are responding to their medicines. It is also easier to establish rapport with this kind of customers and make patient counselling much more effective. The only challenge to the pharmacist is how to control the flow of conversation - the pharmacist must know how to steer the conversation such that relevant information helpful to the patient's health is the main course of the dialogue and not gibberish nonsense.
The Demanding customer
The right amount of being demanding is an attitude that any customer must learn to have. After all, the money you pay for any product or service is hard-earned money. The situation is different though, when you have a customer who thinks he owns the drugstore and believes he is "entitled" to good customer service and thus must be treated like royalty. Being demanding not only takes away the chance of good customer-pharmacist relationship but also dampens the mood for what could have been a great round of patient counselling. Can you imagine explaining important drug information to someone who only wants to get his medicines quick and leave right away? This type of customer is probably the most challenging test to a pharmacist's professionalism but the key is to give the customer what he wants right away while giving him as much information as you possibly can.
The Indifferent Customer
I have also observed customers who walk into the drugstore and do not care at all whether you put out good (or bad) service for them. Indifferent customers would approach with neither a smile nor a frown, making it difficult to tell if they are happy with your service, or simply disgusted with it. It is also quite hard to figure out if they are in the mood for some information about their meds or are in a hurry to get out of the store. They also pose a challenge to the professionalism of a pharmacist because it is difficult to set a rapport with them. However, indifferent customers are still customers and pharmacists must find creative ways on how to deal with them the right way.
The Irate Customer
Every now and then, one is able to encounter a customer who is simply fuming mad about a something, whether it would be about the prices of medicines, or uncovered medications, or some other concerns. The irate customer is simply the toughest challenge one can encounter inside the drugstore. From where I stand in the prescription area, I have seen medication bottles being thrown or credit and insurance cards being flicked at staff's faces out of seething anger. Extra care with less judgement is necessary when dealing with these kind of customers. It is important to find out where exactly they're coming from and allow them to express their anger without taking anything personally. People going through such extreme emotions are deaf to any explanation and hence must be allowed to calm down first before they can process anything. Hence, active listening and empathy are the most effective ways of dealing with irate customers.
Dealing with different personalities inside the drugstore is fun, exciting, challenging and scary all at the same time. While we cannot choose the kind of customers who will walk-in to the drugstore, we always have a choice to treat them well. After all, customers come into the store to buy their medicines and healthcare products - essential components needed for better health. Nothing is more rewarding than assisting customers get the most out of their medicines - regardless of who they are and how they behave inside the drugstore