The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way that people do business, which is especially true for pharmacies. People turn to pharmacies in times of need.

It’s always vital to offer top-notch customer service, but under the current circumstances, customers must be especially confident that they’re being cared for and protected. That involves taking customer service to a new level to put your customers’ minds at ease.

Make the Best First Impression
Making an excellent first impression is among the cornerstones of customer service but during this pandemic, it’s even more important. The way to create a memorable, trustworthy first impression is different right now.

Customers and patients who come to the pharmacy for medication need to feel safe. During COVID-19, that looks a bit different than it does at any other time.

For your pharmacy, cementing a solid first impression translates to making sure that every employee and visitor wears a mask in the store. It’s especially critical for employees, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, to wear a mask while interacting with customers.

Set up hand sanitizing stations around the pharmacy, particularly in high-traffic areas and within the pharmacy area itself. Wipe down counters and carts frequently.

Ideally, you should wipe down your station between every customer. Many people feel more comfortable if there are plexiglass barriers between themselves and the retailers with whom they do business. Installing safety shields at the pharmacy counter will keep both you and your customers healthy and safe.

Communicate Your Response
It’s not enough to simply install safety measures. That may be sufficient to reassure the customers who are visiting your pharmacy, but what about the people who are still afraid to venture out to do their business?

Think about starting an email campaign or otherwise communicating your pharmacy’s plan of action and safety precautions. Simply knowing that their pharmacy is being diligent in fighting the spread of the coronavirus will mean the world to your customers.

List out all of the steps your pharmacy follows, including wearing masks, providing hand sanitizer, and sanitizing the store.

Consider Home Delivery
At-risk people take stay-at-home orders seriously. Many of your customers may not feel safe venturing out of their homes. They don’t want to risk standing in line at the grocery store or the pharmacy, which is understandable.

So, what can you do to make sure that people who are sick or injured receive the medications that they need?

One Connecticut pharmacist has gone above and beyond for customers during the pandemic by delivering their medications directly to their homes. If possible, consider offering home delivery services through your pharmacy. At-risk customers who don’t want to jeopardize their health via exposure will appreciate the amenity.

Another way to offer convenient services to people who need to stay at home is to provide at-home testing services for COVID-19. That can be extremely helpful to anyone who fears they’ve been exposed to the virus, particularly if they don’t want to risk exposing anyone else.

Help Where You Can
In addition to thinking about delivering medications to customers who can’t visit your pharmacy or who aren’t comfortable doing so, there are other ways you can help, as well.

Assistance from your pharmacy may involve giving away hand sanitizer, educating your customers about the best practices for their health and safety, or organizing a mask drive in which customers and other members of the community can make or donate masks. You could also offer drive-through COVID-19 testing at your pharmacy.

If it’s possible for the pharmacists and technicians in your workplace to volunteer their time elsewhere and, if they choose to, that can serve your community, too. A pharmacy intern from Kansas City chose to volunteer at a testing site, for example. That’s an excellent way to extend your reach to take care of your neighbors and customers.

The best thing that you can do is to pay attention to the needs of your community. Think about what might serve them best and how your pharmacy can go about implementing it. It may even be helpful to ask your customers for ideas. That will further foster a sense of community, as well, which goes a long way toward creating a positive, helpful environment in your pharmacy.

Streamline Your Services
As much as possible, try to streamline the services you offer. Right now, no one wants to wait in long lines.

Not everyone respects the 6-feet rule and customers may become agitated, nervous, or worried if they spend too much time in a line or in a store in which there are too many people.

One remedy is to place a limit on how many people are allowed in the pharmacy area at once. That’s especially important because people are still dealing with other illnesses at this time.

You can also work to ensure that prescriptions are filled promptly and on time, which also cuts down on wait times for your customers.

Your pharmacy undoubtedly prides itself on customer service. Now is your chance to take it to a higher level to assure your customers that you have their best interests at heart.

About the Author
Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers new industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.

References
1.       Protect Your Customers And Employees With Plexiglass Shields. SimplySourceful. https://simplysourcefulparts.com/simplyblog/protect-your-customers-and-employees-with-plexiglass-shields/. Published May 5, 2020. Accessed October 9, 2020.
2.       Morgan B. 10 Examples Of Amazing Customer Service During COVID-19. https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/08/20/10-examples-of-amazing-customer-service-during-covid-19/. Published August 20, 2020. Accessed October 9, 2020.
3.       COVID PCR Testing in Los Angeles: Good Life Medical. Good Life Medical Services. https://www.goodlifemedicalservices.com/. Accessed October 9, 2020.
4.       Pharmacy Intern Works Extra Shifts, Volunteers At COVID-19 Testing Site During Pandemic. Pharmacy Times. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/pharmacy-intern-works-extra-shifts-volunteers-at-covid-19-testing-site-during-pandemic. Published October 6, 2020. Accessed October 9, 2020.
5.       Desselle SP. Tip of the Week: Promoting Positive Energy in the Workplace. Pharmacy Times. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/tip-of-the-week-promoting-positive-energy-in-the-workplace. Published September 9, 2020. Accessed October 9, 2020.