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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

And The People's Choice Winner Is...

"Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."

When your doctor asks (and on electronic prescriptions, it says) "Patient's Pharmacy of Choice", remember that YOU picked me.  It says Patient's Choice.  I did not force you to come to my pharmacy. It's not like a dinner choice.  Hey, I'm in the mood for Thai tonight. Your selection, and repeat business, is not just a whim.

With that in mind, I am done with you.  If you are unhappy, leave. When people threaten to go somewhere else, I'll tell them "Go Ahead".  I will even ask where they want me to transfer their profile so it's waiting for them when they get there.

A fine gentleman was leaving for vacation.  Of course, his refills were too early but he neglected to provide us with this information when he left them.  As I was going to explain this, he said he'd just transfer pharmacies if it was going to be a hassle.
Nope.  No hassle. If you leave, no hassle at all.  So go.  Now! See ya.

I'm tired of being held hostage by people who don't understand and refuse to understand how the whole refill/insurance/plan ahead thing works.  I'm tired of people thinking they can get something by complaining simply because of their own stupidity.

I am taking the Twitter approach to dealing with these people.  Ricky Gervais is wonderful to follow.  Twitter is about choice.  You actually have to choose to follow someone.  If you do not like what they have say, you have the simple choice to "unfollow".  I'd like people to apply that to pharmacy choice as well.  I only wish we could "block" people too.

Following someone on Twitter and complaining about what they tweet about is like phoning someone to tell them you don't want to talk to them


Friday, August 24, 2012

Customer Complaints=Money!

Why do people always act as if they are entitled to something?  Why do people always feel wronged and that they should be compensated for it? Is it the 1-800-WE-SUE-YOU ads on TV? Here are my favourite, recurring issues concerning customer service.
Only in Retail Pharmacy could we allow a profession to be subject to 1-800 complaint calls.  We can't complain about doctors or lawyers or accountants or other real professionals when they make us mad.  Ever had to wait more than a couple hours to see a doctor? Can't complain to anyone.  Had to wait more than 15 minutes for your prescription? Here's a free coffee, a $20 gift card, and the pharmacist won't get a bonus and will personally kiss your ass on the counter next time you're in.

Customer #1: Called to complain that she graciously gave us a full day to fill her prescriptions (dropped them off last night, but doctor wrote "do not fill until today" on them) and they weren't ready.  I apologized, explained we were busy, that we try to have them all done by 11 am, etc, etc.  She interrupted me and politely pointed out that when she goes to ABC Drugs, they always give her a gift card.  I apologized again and she said that XYZ Pharmacy always gives her free stuff when they are wrong too.  Aha!  I figured her out and proceeded to call her on it.
     ME: Okay.  Again, I am sorry.  In my career in retail, I have realized there are two types of people who call 1-800 complaint lines: those who are looking to continue coming to your establishment and have always had a great time and want just this one little problem fixed so they can continue to happily enjoy your services.
     LADY: Yes, That's me!
     ME: And the other type would be those who are looking for a handout.  Those who want something for some perceived slight against them. Those who figure they can bully a company or a manager into giving them a gift card or free crap to make them shut up and go away.  Every time you interrupted me, you mentioned the word "compensated".  That means you are looking to get something from me and all the other places you do business.  What will it take to make you go away?
     LADY: What?
     ME: I already offered an apology and a $5 gift card and you have kept me on the phone for over 20 minutes now, talking about compensation and how ABC and XYZ are so much better at handouts.  What will it take to make you go away?
     LADY: What?
     ME: I will have a $5 gift card waiting for you when you next come in for a refill.  Anything else?
     LADY: No.

I have heard nothing from her since.  Apparently, she was notorious for customer complaints prior to my arrival and no one stood up to her.  But why do we let people take advantage of our profession like this?

Customer #2: Comes back through the drive-thru and just now presents his insurance card. As we explain that he will have to come back after we rebill his prescriptions, his automatic response is :"Are you going to pay for my gas?"
     ME: No.  Why would I?
     HERR DOUCHE: Because I have to come back.
     ME: It's not my fault you didn't have your insurance card the first time. Or that you're 30 minutes earlier than we told you to come back. Or that your doctor didn't send the e-Rx over yet.
    HD: But I should be compensated for you wasting my gas.
     ME: Why? Does Best Buy pay you for gas when they issue a raincheck for the 72" TV they're out of? Does McDonald's give you a gas card when they make you pull up and wait for the fresh, hot fries they just dropped? Here's an idea. Park your car and walk your lazy butt into my store.  Shop around a bit.  It'll take you so long to get back here, since your only exercise is 12-ounce curls, that I can have it gift wrapped for you.  Pay for your gas?!

Since when did anyone deserve to be so entitled? These people are the product of parents who held their hand and did everything for them.  They were continually told they were better than everyone else and they didn't have to take it anymore.  It's a culture that retail pharmacy has not only encouraged, but strongly embraced.  Our bonus is tied to great customer service.  How about we focus on the professional aspects of our jobs, the reason we went to school.  We just need someone to tell these people "being a customer does not entitle you to anything. We appreciate your business, but I am not going to pay you for the privilege of shopping here."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I am NOT Your Doctor's Bitch

I know I have said this before (see Pharmacist vs. Doctor) but it bears repeating after this week's phone call.
I retrieved my voicemail to hear the following message from a doctor's representative:
"This is Dr. Zoffis calling.  We received a call from patient Lazy Ass.  He told us he was out of refills.  Dr. Zoffis requires that all requests be faxed from your pharmacy so we can give them to him when he has time and then send them back to you. Please make note of our fax number in your system so you can fax us on all refill requests.  The patient needs a refill on his HCTZ so fax it so we can get his refill back to you."

Wow.  What a bitch.  Is it just me or could this long-winded soliloquy not have been shortened to:
"Please refill Lazy Ass' HCTZ 3 times.  Thanks"???

Assuming we had actually faxed you correctly in the first place, I am certain we would have had either (or both) of the following outcomes:
     1. My doctor demands you fax him and he says you didn't yet and now I've been out of meds for over a week!
     2. My doctor said he faxed your refill request back on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and twice on Thursday but you didn't fill it.  You lost it and now I've been out of meds for over a week.

Seriously?  Let me see if I understand this.  In the really old days, your doctor would write a prescription and you'd hand-deliver it to me.  In the olden days, a speedy-tongued girl would directly deliver a verbal order.  If she forgot to call or you forgot to give it to me, not my fault.  If you took it to the wrong pharmacy or she called it there, not my fault.  Now the onus is on us for every possible thing that could go wrong?  If they don't get the refill request? My fault.  If they forget to send it? Send it to the wrong pharmacy? My fault and my fault? If the e-script service verifies it was delivered but I can't find it? My fault?
I am sorry, but my obligation ends when I hit "SEND" on the refill request.  I cannot fill prescriptions I do not have and I only get paid for prescriptions I fill.  Therefore it is in my best interest to fill your prescription and not waste time tracking down a lost-in-transit, phantom script.

Obviously, there is a breakdown somewhere.  Why though, is the blame falling squarely on the pharmacist? The patients accept zero personal responsibility for their own healthcare.  They expect us to fill the refill before it's due, call them when it's filled, remind later in the week it's still here, call the doctor when the refills expire, then refill it when it's due; lather rinse repeat.  The only service we are not providing is actually going to the doctor for them.  Wait for it.  I'm sure some corporate pharmacy suit is crunching those numbers and figuring out the logistics of where to incorporate that between flu shots, MTM, and actual filling of prescriptions.

Everyone expects us to do everything for them.  I think I'll try the "my fax machine can only receive" trick and see what the offices' responses are.  Why, too, do doctors argue and scoff when you ask them to resend a script or to authorize a verbal order? Really? Just read it to me, like you used to do. Oh well, it's not like they're telling patients my pharmacy has a certain drug in generic or that they're free or $4, right?  They'd never do that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Sound Stupid to your Pharmacist

Overheard recently (daily) at your local RxDrug Counter:

"I needs my Percs filled. Are they ready?"
"I forgot when my husband could get his Ativans. They due yet?"
"You got any OC's in stock?"
"I want the old Opanas.  You all have them?"

Rule #1: Do not pluralize your drugs.  It makes you sound stupid and an awful lot like a stereotype.  Therefore, I shall henceforth treat you as such.

Rule #2: Be careful of the stories you tell because I will talk to my techs and your doctor.  If your stuff was stolen, file a police report and we'll talk.  However, the important thing to remember is to tell the officer WHAT was stolen so he can list it on the line that says "Items Missing..." If you tell me someone entered your house while you were gone and they took your "Vikes", okay.  However, if the police report you handed me reads "Items Missing...Not sure. Man says someone entered his house, went through his drawers and didn't notice anything missing but would call if he did", THEN I'm not going to believe you even a little bit.  Especially if the doctor calls in to approve the early refill and I ask them what story they got and they tell me: "his wife called and said he got the crap beat out of him and they took all his Vicodins".  Strange because the report says windows were broken and you weren't home.  And don't pluralize your drugs.

Rule #3: Don't give me the stolen Rx story today then the "left them on vacation" story the next month, especially if you already used the "going on vacation" story in between.  No way did you leave them in the hotel.  You would have driven back and slapped the manager around to get back in there if it's possible you even let them out of your sight for even a shower.

Rule #4: Do not call me more than once a day.  Do not call me again once I have given you a date when your RX may be filled.  If I tell you the 13th, it will not change between now and the 13th.  Buy a calendar and put a shiny red heart on it so you know it's "Drug Day"!  Then call me on the 13th.  But only once. After 10am.

Rule #5: If for some reason I say "NO" to your narcotic refill request, you may ask for an explanation.  There may be a very legitimate reason you cannot get it and you may be a legitimate person asking for it legitimately.  For the rest of you, do not scream, curse, throw a temper tantrum, mumble things about sex with dead animals, or otherwise "lose it" in any theatrical way in front of my pharmacy.  You look like the stereotype mentioned in #1.

I do not assume everyone abuses their prescription medication. I do not stereotype based on looks or the Rx presented to me.  I do, however, have a job to do that while performing may lead to unexpected questions being raised.  It is these good people that are the recipients of my humble rants and raves here.

The truth is easy to remember; the lie is easy to forget.