Last week I went to a pharmacy to get a prescription. As I approached the prescription counter, I noticed a sign next to the register that read, “Let’s Talk.” I took it as an invitation and said in a friendly, happy voice, “Okay, let’s talk.” and continued to say, “How are you today?” The woman who served me wasn’t amused. She looked at me in icy, unresponsive silence and finally said coolly, “Can I help you?”
It didn’t take a nuclear physics degree to find out that she completely ignored my modest attempt at being friendly, so I immediately responded to her icy tone with my own. I gave her my prescription information and was briefly told I was at the wrong counter. I was at the PRESCRIPTION OUT switch when I was supposed to be on
“RECEPTION IN” counter. How stupid of me to make such a mistake. Maybe that’s why she was so rude to me. I had committed a major, unforgivable sin in Pharmacy Land.
As I approached the actual counter, I saw the “Let’s talk” sign again. and decided to give the place a second chance. I looked at the lady who was serving me and said again in a happy and friendly tone, “The other lady who was serving me didn’t really feel like talking, so I came here. So “let’s talk.”
Another freezing, icy silence followed by “Can I help you?” If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em so I, too, got cool, abrupt, assertive and said, “Mike Moore/ Doctor Quinn/ Asthma meds/ Review needed please.” She checked the computer and found I had 4 reps left. I told her I would come to pick it up at 10am the next day and I left. I know I shouldn’t have responded right away but I was upset with the way a paying customer was treated became.
I wanted to give the woman my card and tell her that I’ve spoken to companies and organizations about customer relationships and would like to run a seminar on the subject for their employees. But I didn’t.
I’m not saying dealing with the public is easy. It is not. In fact, it can be very stressful, but you can neutralize the stress with a simple smile and a little humor. All these people had to do when I responded to their invitation to chat was smile and say in a friendly tone, “Okay. We talk. What can I do for you?”
Simple, easy, effective and your customer will want to come back to do business with you. Isn’t that what customer service is all about?