Today I had to run to the drugstore to get a bunch of cough drops and cold medicine and some microwave chicken noodle soup for my husband, who has a nasty cold. I ran in, grabbed a bunch of stuff and juggled it in my arms (not taking the basket as always because I’m only getting a few things) and unloaded at the cash register. Not only did the cashier search through the Walgreen’s circular because she was sure there was a coupon for something I was buying, but another Walgreen’s employee came up to me, took a handful of coupons from her smock, and found two more for items I had on the counter. Between them, the two clerks saved me almost $3.00!
Neither one of the clerks had to help me in the way they did. I had no expectation that I would get to use coupons because I was in a hurry to get in, get out, get back home to ditch the stuff for my husband, and head back out to work. These Walgreen’s ladies thrilled and delighted me by offering me more than 10% off my bill, and I felt they wanted me to get the discount. If Walgreen’s instructs employees to help customers this way, they are brilliant. If the Walgreen’s in my neighborhood has a manager that promotes customer service, I commend him or her. If these ladies are the creators of this customer service ethic, I bow to their excellence.
What could be better than a customer service surprise? Something you didn’t require, or expect, but certainly appreciate. What could you do to create this in your practice?
- Validate parking on a special day (election day, the practice’s anniversary, veterans day, etc.) for a location where patients usually have to pay to park.
- Provide information on local pharmacies so patients can easily find the closest pharmacy to your office, or find a pharmacy that delivers. This could go hand-in-hand with helping patients to find the pharmacy with the lowest price for their prescription (see my post on getting started.)
- Send new patients an email thanking them for coming to your practice and making sure they know how to get back in touch with the practice if they have any questions or concerns. Most practices may not be ready to open this door, but I suggest you be one of the first and set the pace for your competitors.
- I suggest you take down the signs saying “no cellphones”, and recognize that patients are trying to multitask and get things done in exactly the same way that we are. Invite loud cell phone talkers to step outside and give them a pager to call them when you’re ready for them. Meet patients on their terms.
- What are your ideas?