I've never thought of myself as a people-person, and I highly doubt any of my friends have ever described me as such. I'm not exactly the most social person in the world. For whatever reason I don't like saying hello or goodbye to people. I don't ask people about their days or how they're doing. I don't ask or really care to know about anyone's personal life. In most conversations, I withhold my opinions as to not offend anyone (because most people seem to be so easily offended). I'm basically just a private person that likes to keep to himself. I'll never be the life of any party.
However, when it comes to dealing with customers, I'm somehow very good. Most of our customers really like me. I'm not overly friendly with them. I don't wave and excitedly greet them every time I see them. Most of the time I hardly acknowledge their existence until I either have to answer a question or explain something. Then I come across as easy-going and extremely helpful. I always try to make it a point to work with them no matter what I'm telling them. Whatever it is I do, it seems to work for me because no one seems to complain or have anything negative to say about me. Hell, three times this week I've had a customer tell me that they had a much better experience dealing with me than the other pharmacists (particularly Betty).
I guess the point of this post is that I don't know how I came to be the well liked pharmacist. I'm not a social butterfly. I've never been the most liked anything. Meanwhile, I work with a lot of very social people who tend to constantly annoy and get into mini arguments with customers. One of our technicians is one of the most social people I know. She goes out all the time, has a ton of friends, and meets new people all the time. However, she couldn't tell a customer he's won the lottery without him getting mad at her. It's just the tone she uses. It's that entirely unnatural customer service tone. You know that tone.... She talks in a slightly higher pitch and ends every sentence at an even higher pitch. She's overly polite to the point of sounding snarky and condescending. People can't stand dealing with her, and she can't stand dealing with them. She'd rather do anything else than wait on customers because of it.
I don't mean to single her out though. A lot of our staff has the same problem. They come across as confrontational no matter what they're saying. I just don't understand how such social and friendly people outside of work can have such difficulty dealing with customers. You'd think a friendly, social person would have a much easier time than an introvert like me. However, there seems to be no real correlation.
Again, I think it all stems from that fake customer service tone. Yes, you deal with customers in retail pharmacy, but you have to remember that those customers are people just like you and I (well maybe not like you or I in some cases). There's no reason to be fake with them. Just talk to them naturally. Be polite, but don't overdo it with the sirs, ma'ams, please, and thank yous. Talk TO them and not AT them. Moreover, don't automatically assume that if they question something you say that they're trying to argue with you. Some things are worth getting into arguments over, but in the great majority of cases, an argument just isn't worth your time. Most people are just looking for some sign that you understand where they're coming from. If you can find that tiny bit of common ground, you can avoid most disputes while still getting your point across.
I don't know... That's just my experience with customers, and maybe it doesn't apply to all customer populations. I just think that being natural when dealing with people is always the best way to go.