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About the Authors: Dr. Holmes is an associate professor with the School of Pharmacy and research associate professor of the Research Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, both at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Holmes received her PharmD degree and MS in pharmacy administration from Duquesne University and PhD in pharmacy administration from the University of Mississippi. She taught pharmacy management for 7 years and currently teaches pharmacy law, personal finance, and health care policy. Her research focuses on organizational behavior, human resource management, and service implementation in community pharmacy practice.

Dr. Bynum is an associate professor with the Belmont University College of Pharmacy. Dr. Bynum received a BA degree in psychology, an MS in wellness, and a PhD in pharmacy administration from the University of Mississippi. She teaches courses in pharmacy management, human resource management, the US health care system and communications. Dr. Bynum’s research focuses on human resource management, the student pharmacist experience, and organization citizenship behaviors.



After completing this chapter, readers will be able to

  1. List the principles for ensuring good customer service.

  2. Provide ways of meeting each standard that patients use to evaluate services.

  3. Define and describe the significance and implications of service failure, service recovery, service recovery paradox, and zone of tolerance.

  4. Choose service recovery efforts for low-, mid-, and high-criticality service failures.

  5. Explain the four perspectives of customer satisfaction assessment.

  6. Identify ways to develop pharmacy staff members to provide good customer service.

  7. Describe how an employee’s work life can affect customer service.

  8. Recommend steps for dealing with “difficult” patients.


Sarah Laird, a 60-year-old woman, walked into the pharmacy in the morning with a prescription for promethazine 25-mg tablets. After suffering a back injury on an assembly line job at her workplace last week, she had been taking a pain medication as prescribed for a couple of days. While her pain has significantly reduced, the nausea from the pain medication has been difficult to deal with.

Upon presenting the prescription directly to the pharmacy manager and telling him that it should be covered by her workman’s compensation insurance, he returned to her a clearly puzzled look. The look was not judgmental—just puzzled. He knew that promethazine is not a drug that is usually covered by workman’s compensation insurance and that a prior authorization from the physician would be needed. She did not take his look as a puzzled one; rather, she took it as a judgmental one. “Um, ma’am, this promethazine is not a drug typically covered by your workman’s comp. I need to get a prior authorization from your doctor. You’ll have to come back tomorrow for it.” The pharmacist said this to her pretty hastily, as he had ...

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