The Minimum Legal Requirements Aren’t Good Enough!

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Today I am writing about an issue that has me so angry I am shaking. At first it may not seem to be about marketing, but bear with me; the connection will be made clear.

My son has been taking an asthma medication for about a year – it’s been very effective in controlling his asthma and allergies. Just recently – and by accident – we discovered that the American Food and Drug Administration had issued an alert about a possible connection between this drug and “behavior/mood changes, suicidality (suicidal thinking and behavior) and suicide.”

Well, it so happens we’ve been dealing with a dramatic mood change in my son – explosive anger, depression and yes “suicidality”. Upon hearing of the alert, we immediately discontinued use of this medication.

The change in my son’s mood and behavior is dramatic. He is noticeably happier – it’s like I have my old son back.

Today I went into the pharmacy where we got our prescription to complain that we didn’t hear about this warning from them. I was told that because Health Canada hasn’t issued a warning, they hadn’t heard about this. And until Health Canada does issue a warning they won’t be talking to people about this alert.

This is the part that makes this story relevant in a blog about marketing and running a business. The response from the pharmacist is completely unacceptable. This particular pharmacy is not the cheapest in town – we go to it because we felt they gave better advice than other pharmacies in town.

Well, I no longer feel this way and will certainly be considering switching my business. And since my son is on daily asthma medication and my husband also has a daily prescription, this is not an insignificant amount of business.

True, as a Canadian business, the pharmacy is only legally obligated to follow alerts from Health Canada. But a business that provides a service as well as a product, the minimum legal requirements are not good enough. In a competitive marketplace you must go beyond the minimum.

When looking after your customers, are you only providing the minimum required? Probably not. In fact, the most successful businesses try to give their customers a little extra. You don’t need to “give away the farm” but giving a little extra will go a long way to create loyalty.

And when you mess up – as this pharmacy most surely did in my opinion – don’t just quote government regulations. Apologize!

If this pharmacist had been apologetic and sympathetic to my situation, I wouldn’t be as furious as I am. And had he been apologetic, I wouldn’t be switching my business. And I wouldn’t tell everyone I know about the horrific experience – as I intend to do now.

Take a look at your business from the customer’s point of view. Are you giving exemplary service? And when a customer has a complaint or concern, are you addressing it in a way that leaves them feeling satisfied?

We’re only human and can’t be perfect. But when a customer comes to you with a concern about your service, don’t get defensive. Listen and do you best to respond in a way that you would want to be treated if the situation were reversed.

Andrea J. Stenberg

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