Between the different styles of chemists; chain stores, the discounted chemist, boutique pharmacies and lone (often rural) community chemists, you’ve gotta wonder: does the level of service differentiate depending on the kind of chemist you visit?
Initially, I would presume that the chain and discounted chemist would not offer a great level of service due to the perceived busyness and often large size of its establishment and their selection of products. It nurtures a ‘fend for yourself’ kind of mentality, where service is acquired when sought out (although it might take you a while to find an employee who isn’t stuck serving from behind the counter). Larger chemists often have signs overhanging each aisle, most likely to eliminate the need for a worker to have to direct you to the products you are after, so that they can be helpful elsewhere. Chemist Warehouse and Priceline are prime examples of larger and chain chemists that benefit hugely from signposting each aisle in accordance with the goods they stock. These examples of a discounted chemist can often strike a good balance of accomodating a level of self sufficiency for the customer, personalised service (particularly for those approaching the pharmacy section to get scripts filled) and fly-by service in terms of processing transactions, professional advice and directions. Efficiency and productivity do not have to come at the expense of good personalised service.
So is it the community chemists, and the boutique chemists, that offer personalised service above all others? If these chemists were, in keeping with the assumption, more quiet, then it would stand to reason that the care would be more personalised and comprehensive. More time and attention can be afforded to spend on an individual, making sure their experience is pleasant and their needs have been met. Community chemists tend to have, as the title suggests, a strong sense of community, where everyone knows everyone. The level of service, therefore, would be exceptionally personal as a result. (Perhaps too personal, if you are not thrilled about the idea of the relationship being blurred between personal, professional and who knows what about you.) On the other hand, the training is probably compromised – possibly due to less access to funds and resources – making the service an, at times, clunkier experience. Productivity is usually only fostered and developed when there is a need for it.
Regardless of the environment, personalised care within chemists has more to do with training and individual commitment to excellence in their role than it does the place that their service is being offered. Service can be excellent regardless of the busyness or the size of the establishment within which they work. Whilst training and resources can assist in equipping employees to provide good service and nurture good customer relations, attitude toward the customer and the job itself is the crucial ingredient in any experience the customer walks away feeling properly taken care of within the store. It is these experiences that will ensure return business, a larger clientele (through word of mouth) and breed positive customer feedback via the various online channels through which this is now possible to provide.