How to Handle Difficult Patients at Your Independent Pharmacy
Everyone in customer service, pharmaceuticals or otherwise, has had their experience with difficult patients. When dealing with people, some of them are bound to be angry. Oftentimes, they were angry before they got to you. But there’s a difference between difficult patients and difficult customers.
A cashier in a drive-thru window has customers. In pharmaceuticals, we have patients, who are our customers. Individual pharmacists have a whole different set of scenarios than the average cashier, server, or sales clerk. Because we’re dealing with people’s medications and ultimately their health. This combination can make for a highly sensitive encounter when all is not going well.
When the Customer Isn’t Right
“We’re brought up with a mentality that “the customer is always right,” says Jerry. “But in the case of pharmaceuticals, the customer isn’t always right.” It’s a hard pill to swallow, but pharmacists are bound by what insurance companies say needs to be done, as well as the perimeters of the law we must work within. Our patients can’t always see or understand this and it’s our job to help them.
Advice to Live By
When dealing with a difficult patient here are some tips that may be helpful:
- Listen to what your patient, your customer, is saying.
- Acknowledge the problem, and if you made a mistake own it.
- Explain what the problem is, why it occurred and what you can to do to resolve it.
- Thank them.