As reports about U.S. pharmacy consolidation increase, Walgreens Boots Alliance could be closer to selling hundreds of stores in order to get U.S. regulatory approval for its Rite Aid acquisition. Fred’s Pharmacy revealed that it was in talks with a Walgreens partner. However, management at Fred’s warned that there is no guarantee that the deal will happen. However, executives stated they are interested in expanding U.S. pharmacy operations. Although it is not clear if Fred’s will partner with Walgreens or Rite Aid, Fred’s CEO Mike Bloom stated that “acquisition and partnership activities” were in the company’s future.
Total Retail Take I’m less certain that the Walgreens-Rite Aid deal will get U.S. regulatory approval. With Walgreens having to sell at least 500 stores in order to make it happen, the longer it takes. The FTC seems intent to ensure that antitrust concerns are addressed before approving the deal, just like the Staples/Office Depot merger. Even with the divestiture and consolidation of 1,000 stores, Walgreens and Rite Aid combined would have the largest number of U.S. pharmacies, surpassing chief rival CVS Health.
Five Tips to Deal with Stressed Holiday Customers
It’s not surprising to see frustrated and frazzled customers during the holiday season. They are not wrong, and who could blame them? Retailers can’t blame them. A recent survey conducted by alldayPA found that 76 percent of respondents were unhappy with brands’ inability to apologize for their problems. While 47 percent claimed they had been personally blamed for the complaints.
Retailers, this is a poor plan. What are the alternatives? These five strategies will help you keep your customers happy, your salespeople healthy, and your business afloat during the madness of the season.
1. You should be a partner and not a salesperson in stressful situations. Customers want to know that you are there to assist them with any problem or complaint. It might seem like you are only trying to solve the problem to make a sale or profit. It is your responsibility to ensure that the customer feels you both are working together towards a mutual solution.
2. Do not take it personally. However, they are dissatisfied with the service or product that they received. You, whether you are good or not, are the cause of their discomfort. Keep your cool if a customer starts to yell. You will have the best chance to make things work, even if the customer seems rude. Don’t be the problem, solve the problem.
3. You should have options and understand the value of each. Then you can offer a solution. To do this effectively, you need to be aware of all options and their value. You want your customer to be happy. However, it is important to ensure that you provide a solution that is both valuable and beneficial to both you and the customer.
4. Listen. Customers are often looking for someone to listen when they vent or express anger. Listening with patience and respect is the first step to negotiating a positive outcome. To show that you understand, you can repeat to them the complaint. Ask them any additional questions. Positive body language such as eye contact, nodding, and avoiding crossing your arms will show that you are listening. Finally, show sympathy. You can help them by showing sympathy.
5. Even if you don’t feel like it, you must apologize. No matter the validity of the issue, or the nature of the complaint, you should apologize. If you want to keep the customer, apologize. It doesn’t matter if they are expressing their dissatisfaction with your product or service or simply that they are upset, a simple “sorry” can make a big difference. Even if it’s not necessary or that the customer is at fault, an apology can help keep the customer coming back to your store in the new year.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but they can also be stressful. Your customers can feel supported and helped by you every time they come to your front door.