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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."

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