The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Surveys and more surveys

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:05 am on Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I know you have seen these.  If you haven’t you probably haven’t been spending money in a store.  At the end of your cash register tape is a website, an ID number and an opportunity to tell cyberspace and the company what you thought of your transaction.    Months ago, PC pharmacy did the same.  PC Pharmacy has never been an innovator…PC Pharmacy is the ultimate follower, both in trends and wages ( sadly).   Every few weeks I see a stack of comments in my mail box from the surveys that people have bothered to fill out.

These surveys serve a couple of purposes.  1) they supposedly gain “valuable feedback” and 2) they collect your email address so they can send you emails every day for the rest of your life.( or until you unsubscribe for the thousandth time…been there done that).   PC doesn’t do surveys on register tapes.  I have enough junk email thank you and I am spending way too much time UN subscribing from such junk.  If I love ( or hate) something, I will usually man-up and speak to somebody directly.

I cannot speak for everybody, but I think I can speak for many.  Most people who fill out surveys are NOT the people so love the store.  They are usually people who have 1) an axe to grind about something or someONE that pissed them off or 2) hope to win something and don’t mind putting their email out for yet another daily send.

The people who love your store show their appreciation by continuing to do business there.  Its pretty simple actually.  If I go to dinner at a restaurant and I have a meal I think isnt worth the money I spent on it, I just don’t come back.  I don’t throw a fit, demand a refund, or ruin somebody’s day.  Truth is, if the food is poor enough, over time, the business will usually fail. I went to this place on my own volition, nobody forced me.

My assumption proved to be true. When the program started, the only comments we ( being the store) were mainly negative.  it wasn’t until we specifically asked our favorites to complete a survey ( if they consented) did we start seeing the glowing responses.  This proved my point. Once we quit specifically asking, the surveys dropped back to normal.  I dont feel very good about asking people to complete surveys that I myself dont prefer to do.

What people write, in and of itself makes great reading. Sometimes its insulting the assumptions they make. ” Its none of your pharmacy’s business why I take a medication, they shouldn’t ask me so many questions”.  Nearly every pharmacy school starts counselling lessons with this statement WHAT DID THE DOCTOR TELL YOU THIS MEDICATION WAS FOR?. I personally don’t counsel that way but many many younger pharmacists do.

” Your prices are too expensive”  Interesting since this comment revealed other things about the comment she left that allowed me to ID the writer.  I am not in control of your prices when your insurance dictates the price of your Nexium.

” I ordered a refill on friday and your pharmacy called me to tell me it was out of stock til monday. I shouldn’t have to wait 3 days to get a refill”.  Well, we think you might feel grateful that a staff member bothered to CALL you to pass on that message. Other wise order your refills on Sun thru Thurs and you wont have to wait 3 days, you will only wait 24 hours. We dont have a million dollars in inventory, and with my new inventory targets, I will have out of stocks more often than ever.

” I dont like your pharmacy lay out.  I can’t watch the pharmacy staff”.  Well, do you think I should be  practicing in a fish bowl?  Do you want other customers to see your prescriptions?  Do you want others to hear what I say to you about your VALTREX and VIAGRA? Would you prefer your doctors have windows in their exam room that look out into the waiting rooms? Or would you like your lawyer or accountant to practice in his lobby? In my opinion, we are already too visible. Its an exercise in frustration to maintain privacy in the pharmacy both for us and for our clients, when the phones sit immediately above the blood pressure machine.  Yup, Joe blow can listen to every word I say. Hows that Hipaa? If it were up to me, I’d be working behind a wall, and nobody would see the drugs.

“My flu shot hurt”.  really?  for that comment I really hope your inbox is stuffed with junk mail loaded with trojan viruses.

” you should have coffee available for your customers”  I am assuming you mean FREE?? because we have a Coffee bar by a major player in the market at the front of the store who would be happy to SELL you a very excellent cup of coffee custom made just for you! If you want free coffee, drop your car off at the dealership for an oil change. Mine gives free coffee AND all the old magazines you can read!

” Your lines are too long”.  Yup, sometimes we have lines.  If 10 people walk up to the counter ( and we only have one register) somebody will be #1 and somebody will be #10.  We have peak times, and we have less than peak times.  If you visit us during our peak times, then you will find longer lines.  have you ever driven an urban freeway at say,  5:00pm?  We make every attempt to move those lines as quickly as possible.

“everytime I come in, eveybody is so RUDE”.  Ah yes, lets play the RUDE card.  Since I have worked there for almost 23 years, I can say with no reservations that none of my employees start ANY transaction with the intention of being rude to anybody.  If you are a complete A$$hole, you probably will not get the glowing gushing love fest you might hope for, but you will not be treated rudely. We dont like being treated like servants, but we are very adept at keeping calm. I am a believer of ” you get what you give” in life so I refuse to respond likewise to people who are jerks to me, and if holding my tongue and keeping a pretty neutral demeanor is being rude, then so be it.  the alternative isn’t so great because punching you in the face is against company policy.

” Your pharmacy wouldn’t refund me for an item I purchased”.  Well first off, you cant return prescription items, and second, I am pretty sure I  knew the writer of this comment.  He tried to return an store brand item….from another chain.  I told him, this isn’t a PC pharmacy item its BIG-BOX store brand…” see the logo?”

All in a days work.  All I can say, is at the end of the day, I am glad I get to come home to my dogs. More about my dog later..

Obamacare: Another Medicare D fiasco or not?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 3:51 pm on Tuesday, October 1, 2013

If you were practicing pharmacy when Medicare D first came into being, you remember the life-altering nightmare it became for all pharmacies.  Cards were not received.  Plans were not updated.  Phone lines were jammed.  Claims didn’t adjudicate…for weeks.  Nothing I had ever experienced on Jan 1 of ANY year ever compared to the nightmare that the beginning of Medicare D was.  And for patients, not once inch of slack was ever given to pharmacies.  It seemed that to most of the seniors banging on my counter that Jan 1 was the onset of their Nirvana to cheap drugs, whereas in reality it was more like the Apocalypse.  Many recipients held off getting prescriptions in December under their existing plan just to load up on Med D. The only people to whom it didn’t matter were retirees that had plans that didn’t change: those lucky lifetime recipients of employee sponsored lifelong plans.

I really don’t know what this new Obamacare is going to mean for pharmacy.  I doubt any of it will be good.  Its a rare day when anything NEW that comes from the government actually benefits pharmacy.  Every new regulation come with new paperwork and requirements and I am sure this will also.  On a personal level, I can see that this will probably create a lot of new ” Plan terminated” rejects starting Jan 1.  What I dont know is if Obama ‘s cronies have their crap together enough to have all the adjudication requirements and card distribution in place so that Jan 1 people will actually be able to USE their benefits.

You can bet that if I get a rejected claim, that it wont’ be ME calling for assistance. I remember all too well Med-D.

Should be interesting….