Spotted! Amazing Customer Service Experience at Walgreen’s


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?

Posted in: Amazing Customer Service

Leave a Comment (4) ↓


  1. Adrilia V. Pedersen November 5, 2008

    Love this story! Whether they were trained in customer service, or they did this on their own, this is beautiful attention to detail, delighting a customer and basic human kindness — the best building blocks for fostering great customer relations.

  2. Mary Pat Whaley November 5, 2008


    You hit the nail on the head with “basic human kindness.” People who do not have a strong desire to help people, often people who are scared, sick and in pain, should not be employed in medical practices. I hope to write on how to screen potential employees for “basic human kindness” in a future post.

    Thanks for your comment,

    Mary Pat

  3. Brandon July 20, 2010

    This is a great story!

    I got an idea that will blow a customer/patient away.

    When a patient calls looking for a doctor that is no longer with the practice, instead of saying, “Dr. Smith is no longer with us… and we don’t know where she went” find out where Dr. Smith is practicing and give the patient the address and phone number of where Dr. Smith is practicing.

    Also, if you want to go above and beyond, tell the patient you’ll be happy to forward her medical records to Dr. Smith’s new office at no charge.

    Better yet, put the patient on-hold, call Dr. Smith’s new practice, conference the patient in and say “Hi, this is Betsy from Internal Med XYZ. I have Ms Johnson on the line. She’d like to make an appointment with Dr. Smith. She heard Dr. Smith just started practicing there… can you help her with the appointment.”

    How about that for customer service?

    When one makes it about the patient, not about the practice… I promise you, it will come back to the practice ten-fold.


    • Mary Pat Whaley July 27, 2010


      You are exactly right! Staff take their cue from the doctors and doctors are usually pretty upset when partners choose to leave. Ultimately it is the patient who loses. Thanks for reminding all of us that professionalism racks up points and that patients must come first. I hope someone will put your suggestion into action – it will be the most “amazingest” customer service ever.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat