By Donalee Moulton
Donnie Edwards co-owns Boggio & Edwards IDA, a specialty compounding pharmacy in Ridgeway, Ont., and is a clinical coordinator at the University of Waterloo. His focus is on pain management, women’s health and addiction services.
He spoke with PharmacyU.ca about making exceptional service a daily experience for customers.
How did you build a customer-service culture in your four stores? And how do you maintain it?
We started by looking at what other businesses in various industries were doing. The company that stood out was Disney. Customer service is their number one priority and so is ours. Their staff training is second to none, and we want to duplicate that. Staff need to put themselves in the patient’s shoes. It’s about how people would like to be treated and how they define great service. It’s not always about process and policies. We triage with consideration and understanding for those who require service first.
We use repeat needs assessments and customer surveys to monitor customer satisfaction, the results of which help to empower staff and ecourage effective employee training. Customer service is part of our culture. It’s the first item on our agenda at every staff meeting, and is included in appraisals. We encourage and reinforce the importance of service by rewarding staff for positive customer feedback. Every time an employee’s name is mentioned by a customer, that employee’s name is entered into an annual draw. Winners get to spend a long weekend at my cottage and are paid as if they were at work.
We understand you have a Random Acts of Kindness Day. Could you tell us more about this?
On Random Act of Kindness Day every customer who makes a purchase receives a 25% discount. We do not advertise this as the point is to encourage our patrons to pay it forward. It’s about inspiring people. It’s amazing when you see people’s faces light up because someone has done something nice.
How do you personally build a relationship with your customers?
We believe in leading by example. Our goal is to treat clients in a manner they would appreciate and emulate. Relationship-building is key to build strong ties that encourage the customer to feel valued as a friend and family member. For instance, if a patient has been diagnosed with cancer, I offer them my home and cell numbers to use at any hour. They’re shell shocked from the diagnosis, so they are relieved knowing they have someone to turn to. As a result, my staff and I often receive letters of appreciation that speak to the impact we are making and give us pride in our work. If your priority is to take care of your patients, the business will take care of itself.
What do you do to promote adherence?
Having a bond with a patient improves adherence. Education and trust are the key. Routine follow-up to ensure patients are managing their medications and adhering well to therapy is a necessity. The result of these calls is often one of surprise and extreme gratitude.
How important is customer loyalty?
It is essential. Great customer service is only as good as your staff. You need to be on your A game all the time, and this is what builds loyalty. We want to make sure our customers know we will address their concerns in a timely manner. Our goal is to have our customers be happy each and every time they leave our store.
Donnie Edwards presented recently at Pharmacy U Toronto.