Last week, I talked about how leadership can impact the overall customer experience in your pharmacy. A good boss can make or break the success of a small business because a good customer experience, arguably, plays the biggest role in whether customers keep coming back to your pharmacy and whether they share their positive experiences. (Remember, customers sharing negative experiences is pretty much a given.)
While I can’t overemphasize the power of positive leadership, your pharmacy staff also plays a vital role. Your customers may not always interact with a store owner or manager so clerks and pharmacy techs are often the face of independent pharmacies as far as consumers are concerned. And although good customer service skills and using time efficiently comes naturally to some people, others may need a little help. Here are some tips for improving employee productivity as well as the overall customer experience in your pharmacy.
Discourage multi-tasking: We may think that we are capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time. Lengthy to-do lists should quake in fear, for we can juggle multiple tasks one time. Or maybe not. It actually turns out that when we think we are focusing on more than one thing at a time, what we are actually doing is switching quickly between different tasks. And every time we are forced to switch tasks, we lose productivity. For example, if while I’m writing this blog I happen to glance over at my email in-box and see something new, I might think that I can handle that email quickly and continue on with my current task without ever really losing my focus. But that’s not really the case. Instead of multi-tasking, I’m taking my focus away from this article and applying it to something completely different. Then, when I come back to writing, I have to find my train of thought all over again and.. wait, where was I?
The more you can help your employees to stay focused on the task at hand, the better. Don’t give arbitrary deadlines for side tasks when the employee’s primary responsibility should be customer service. Sure, you can give them side tasks for down times, but don’t ask them to try to focus on multiple tasks at once, and always make sure they understand what their primary responsibility is. You can definitely ask employees to straighten the display by the register during slow times, but they should know that when a customer walks in, they put that project down and zero in on providing that exceptional customer experience.
Schedule break times: Customer service is an exhausting job. It requires a level of engagement that can leave us feeling wrung out and frazzled if we aren’t careful. Taking breaks can actually improve concentration and lead to better customer service. Make sure that you schedule time for your staff to take a few minutes to rest and re-energize. You can also try cycling staff through different tasks in shorter intervals. A study from Florida State University found that athletes and performers who worked in 90 minute intervals were more productive. So try scheduling employees to work the front cash register in shifts. 90 minutes focused on great customer service and then a quick break and something different like stocking shelves.
Encouraging exercise and healthy eating during break times is also a great way to make sure that your employees stay happy and productive.
Provide training: The best companies invest in their employees. An employee that understands processes and procedures, and knows how to use the tools and technology available to them is going to be better at customer service because they won’t be worried about how to do their job or if they are going to get in trouble for making a mistake. A good training program can make all the difference and you don’t have to do it alone. You can enlist your technology partners to help.
Your employees really are the most valuable asset that your business has. You already know how to provide them with great leadership, so take the next step by providing them with tools and resources to excel at customer service and creating an environment where they can thrive. Happy and productive employees mean happy loyal customers.