On a daily basis, your pharmacy is interacting with customers from a diverse range of backgrounds, with a kaleidoscope of health conditions and requirements. As such, it’s inevitable that you may encounter patients who are rude, angry, or generally a little difficult to deal with.
Whatever situation arises in your pharmacy, it’s important to manage it discreetly and professionally at all times. If you fail to do so, there could be embarrassing or even more serious implications. This short guide should help you deal with tricky patients to resolve and avoid any issues.
Health problems can be incredibly distressing for an individual, and whilst you may occasionally feel that a patient is overreacting or has misunderstood a situation, it’s important to be empathetic. Listen to what they have to say – and use appropriate body language to show that they have your full attention.Ask relevant questions where possible to show a genuine interest, so that you have a full understanding of their condition and any other problems.
Polite and Efficient
Often, the reason for anger and distress is not the health issue as such, but other factors that have worsened their mood. A stressful day at work combined with a long wait in a queue can result in a patient taking out their anger on their pharmacist. However being conscientious from the moment a customer enters your pharmacy can help to diffuse any frustration. For example, encourage your pharmacists to acknowledge those waiting in the queue and apologise when it is their turn. Simple steps such as these can avoid confrontational situations arising in the first place.
Diffuse the Situation
The motif that the customer is always right may seem like an unfair assessment at times, but in an effort to diffuse the anger of a patient it can be easier to pander to their concerns and frustrations, than to try to defend your actions outright. If the customer is proving impossible to calm down, ask them to be seated whilst you find a senior member of staff (if that isn’t you). And always prioritise the safety of your staff and other patients if you think the situation could become aggressive.
Safeguard Your Pharmacy
If a patient experiences problem with their medication, they may turn to the medical community to point the finger. In the event that an incident does arise with a patient, you want to ensure that your pharmacy and pharmacists are fully protected from any accusations. Professional indemnity cover can protect your business and the individuals within it from allegations and claims against your practice.
Depending on the location of your pharmacy, you may find yourself dealing with difficult patients on a more regular basis than your peers in the pharmaceutical world. However by following the tips and guidance above, you should be able to minimise disruption to your business and ensure that your patients are satisfied with the service your provide to the community. Even the more tricky ones.
This article is written by Kelly Gilmour Grassam with useful information from Pharma Protect. You can follow her on twitter @KellyGGrassam