Has your pharmacy received bad reviews? If so, it’s important for chief pharmacists and other office leaders to note the most common reasons for such negative feedback from customers.
Before I became an executive leadership coach, I worked for decades as a healthcare executive in the pharmaceutical industry. It was during this time that I noticed 3 common troublespots for pharmacies that quickly spark bad reviews online and unhappy customers on the phone.
Here are 3 reasons why your pharmacy could be receiving bad reviews.
Lack of Active Listening
When patients have questions about their prescriptions, it’s important to convey with your body language that you are attentive to their concerns and they have your full attention during this time. This process is called active listening, and it is crucial for pharmacists to perfect if they are to provide the most effective and well-received patient experience.
Remember, these patients are coming to you because they are in need of help. Depending on their ailment, they might feel vulnerable, embarrassed, angry, sad, or fearful. It is imperative that pharmacists use the brief window of interactions with their patients to convey their full support. You can do this through maintaining eye contact, nodding occasionally, refraining from multitasking, voicing occasional reassurance language like “mhmm” or “I hear you,” and using soft facial expressions while the patient is talking.
If you or your staff members are getting negative reviews saying you seemed distracted or like you were just trying to get them out the door with minimal interaction, your active listening skills need some improvement, and quick.
Lack of Emotional Intelligence in Customer Service
All too often, pharmacists make the prescriptions the priority rather than the patient. When they are working the counter, many customers report feeling like their pharmacist was cold or apathetic to their sickness or condition. While the pharmacist might just be juggling multiple tasks at once, the majority of the time this behavior is received by the patient as being rude.
This is incredibly common in pharmaceuticals because of the healthcare leadership gap. Pharmacists spend years refining their technical skills and very little time learning how to lead their teams and patients in a way that makes them feel seen, heard, cared for, and prioritized.
To make matters worse, many pharmacists don’t even realize how coldly they are coming off to patients until they receive bad reviews or until management sits them down to have a stern talking to.
The way to correct this behavior is practicing self awareness, one of the key steps in growing your emotional intelligence. By identifying the behaviors that can be perceived negatively by others and conversely, the behaviors that make patients feel valued, pharmacists are more likely to build customer trust and loyalty, resulting in positive reviews.
Lack of Timeliness
Of course, pharmacists know that there is a lot more that goes on behind the counter than just filling prescriptions. Not only are most pharmacies understaffed, but the pharmacist on duty is trying to fill prescriptions, answer phones, counsel patients, contact physicians with any questions, authorize insurance, and more. This can make it incredibly aggravating when customers complain about how long they have had to wait to get their medication.
While there isn’t always an easy fix to speed up the process while being understaffed, there are ways pharmacists can communicate with their patients about the waiting time and why it could be a while before their prescription is filled.
To the untrained eye, customers might perceive their prolonged waiting time as the result of a lack of care from their pharmacist. This can result in anger, frustration, short fuses, and bad reviews. It’s possible to minimize this frustration letting the patient know about a potential wait ahead of time. If you sense their disappointment, try calmly explaining what you will be doing behind the counter. Giving them perspective on your responsibilities and assuring them that getting their prescription filled as soon as possible is your top priority will likely ease their concern and make the wait more bearable.
Better Reviews Start With Better Leadership
Here are a few actions you can take:
- Take my FREE leadership assessment to see how your leadership style and people management skills stack up against best practices.
- Learn more about my 6-session coaching package, designed to help you craft a vision for your business, achieve buy-in from your team, and execute the necessary goals to bring you towards success.
- Learn more about my 12-session coaching package, which features all the benefits of the 6-session package in addition to 6 weeks of emotional intelligence coaching to help you become an extraordinary leader.
About Dr. Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC.
Do you want to increase your impact? Do you want to increase profits under your leadership? Do you want to develop and use your abilities to the fullest to better connect with and lead others? Executive Leadership Coaching covers these bases. Dr. Jerrund Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC, has more than 30 years of successful executive leadership coaching in the United States and internationally.
As a licensed pharmacist, he is particularly passionate about helping develop effective leaders in the healthcare community. Dr. Wilkerson has coached and trained thousands of managers and leaders. He is a certified coach and member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team.
CLICK HERE to learn more.