The holiday shopping season is here and always serves as a reminder that nearly everywhere we go and in everything we do, we are somebody’s customer. Most of us have experienced both excellent and poor customer service as we fill the role of customer purchasing both goods and services. Hill Air Force Base Pharmacy is the busiest outpatient pharmacy in Utah. We take pride in the product we provide and the customer service that we give. We frequently receive feedback and we want you to know that we hear you and we are doing our best to respond to the requests that we receive. Your feedback is important and we are constantly looking for innovative ways to be better.
A 2014 article on Forbes online written by Stuart Leung and titled “What is Good Customer Service?” identifies four critical components of customer service: waiting, transparency, help, and trust. As we converse with patients, receive comment cards, and act as patients ourselves, we have found that these categories summarize the areas where we want to excel. We are hearing what you want and we would like to communicate our steps forward. I am excited to share things we are doing to ensure safe, timely, and responsible care to our more than 70,000 beneficiaries at both the main and the satellite pharmacies.
Shortly after we were married, my wife and I excitedly made our first attempt at shopping the Black Friday sales. I looked around in wonder at the lines that stretched from every cash register, down the aisles, and out of sight. No one seemed to be deterred by the enormity of the lines so we shopped, found some leftover treasures that the masses had left behind, and found our way to the shortest (though very long) checkout line. My assumption was that some kind of holiday magic must be involved in the checkout process. Surely, I told myself, people would not wait in line behind countless carts full of items to finally have their turn if there wasn’t some way that they made the lines move faster than they do on other trips to the store. I began to realize that the laws of time and space were not changing. The process was not faster because it was Black Friday. I was literally going to be there for well over an hour to save a few bucks on something I suddenly wasn’t sure I wanted to buy. Ultimately we returned our items to the shelf for some other brave shopper to find, and retreated to our house to return another day when we would pay a higher financial cost (but with less collateral and emotional damage involved).
Sometimes the pharmacy has long lines. Sometimes we even have really long lines and you may feel the way I felt on that Black Friday. Our goal is that you don’t feel hopeless when you arrive at the pharmacy to fill or pick up your prescriptions. If it seems like there are more and more people at the pharmacy, you are right.
In 2010 Hill AFB pharmacy processed over 289,000 prescriptions. In 2016 that number grew to nearly 354,000. That represents an increase of about 275 prescriptions per duty day. On average that means that an extra patient is getting in line every 3 minutes compared to 2010. Growth in prescription volume continues to provide challenges that we are constantly trying to address. This growth was the motivation behind the 2014 opening of the satellite pharmacy, and since that the opening, the volume of prescriptions increased another 15-20 percent. However, we are working every day to make our lines shorter and our processing times more efficient to continue to provide great pharmacy care to our active duty members, retirees, and their dependents.