This month, we get to know Customer Experience Index Coordinator, Jill Power. With more than 25 years in retail (14 of those in pharmacy), Jill is passionate about making businesses successful.
What is your background?
Originally, I worked at Myer, where I trained in all aspects of retail management. I was also a buyer – from children’s wear through to women’s wear – for all of the NSW stores, including buying and range development on overseas markets for importation for the National Australian stores. More recently, my retail career took me to pharmacy which I’ve worked in for the past 14 years. I was the Manager for two independent regional pharmacies which were operating in a very competitive marketplace. I was responsible for strategic planning, product ranging/buying/merchandising, staff management and training for around 35 staff, marketing program development, financial management and reporting to ensure set KPI’s were achieved.
What did you enjoy about working in pharmacy?
I enjoyed the opportunity to help customers on a daily basis, often during some of the most challenging times of their lives. Being part of their journey, celebrating their family milestones and seeing the generations of individual families grow up as continuing customers of our pharmacies. I was able to witness what a great team can achieve in supporting community, business and personal goals. I also thoroughly enjoyed continued learning and the opportunity to be at the coal face of evolving advances in health care.
Do you have any heart-warming stories from your time in pharmacy?
Dozens and dozens, probably too many to detail. But, one favourite does come to mind. An elderly gentleman whose wife was very unwell, with limited mobility was being discharged from hospital into his care. He was very anxious about her needs and what items she required for him to take care of her safely at home. He was determined to be her primary care giver, but wasn’t sure where to start. He came to us in the first instance and our pharmacy put together all the components needed to make this commitment possible, from ensuring medication packing was undertaken for her, to a shower chair, over-toilet aid and walker being in place at home.
We ensured these items were delivered to their home in time for her imminent arrival, fitted to correct heights and positioned where required. Our team also followed up weekly to check that the items were operating effectively and they were managing. He was grateful and relieved that he could get the assistance he required to support her, and she made good progress. The team gained great satisfaction from seeing what a positive impact they could make on someone’s life, and were greatly encouraged to see what great love and devotion can do in times of great stress, especially when someone lends a helping hand. He brought in fresh flowers from their garden for us, and a thank you card, and became a devoted customer who enjoyed regularly chatting with our staff about the happenings in their lives.
What drew you to working in the Customer Experience Index program?
The opportunity to work with the Pharmacy Guild and learn more about pharmacy. I also wanted to put my skills to use assisting pharmacies to enhance the customer experience and their business offering.
Knowing pharmacy so well, do you think it has prepared you well for helping pharmacies via the Customer Experience Index program?
Yes, I am very aware of the challenges facing pharmacy today but also of the wonderful opportunities available. I have a strong track record in successfully managing a pharmacy business to achieve its strategic goals.
How important is it for a business to be in touch with their customers?
Customers are the life blood of any business. Sometimes it’s too easy to get caught up in the daily operational tasks and forget the people who make the business viable – the customers. This is understandable because most of these tasks have to be done. However, customers’ wants and needs change, they are savvy and informed and in this ever-competitive marketplace not only expect, but demand, great service, products, and advice. If a business doesn’t have processes in place to ensure they are listening to their customers, and reviewing and adjusting their practices where relevant as a result of what they learn, they can lose touch with their customers with potentially disastrous results.
In your own words, what can pharmacies get from the Customer Experience Index?
The chance to hear what their customers are saying, what they like and don’t like, how much they know about their business offering and their available services, and what matters to their customers. In addition, they get suggestions and ideas for improving the customer experience based on customer feedback, and an impartial, supportive, pair of experienced eyes and ears reviewing their pharmacy and finding practical and achievable opportunities to enhance customer loyalty and their business offering.
The Customer Experience Index is a no cost service, available exclusively for Guild members. For more information, or to book an assessment with Jill, visit www.guild.org.au/cei