Will empathy training take Walgreens to a new level?
Walgreens is looking to become America’s most loved beauty destination by combining the best in global brands and trusted, expert care in a welcoming, accessible and inspirational atmosphere. Evidence of this mission is the chain’s recent launch — Feel More Like You — a first-of-its-kind free program that combines pharmacy, health and beauty offerings to better serve oncology patients from the inside out. The service is tied together by a critical human component — empathy.
All pharmacists and beauty consultants involved in the program undergo special empathy training to better understand cancer patient needs and provide personalized recommendations that can help better manage the internal and visible side effects of the disease. This training was administered in partnership with the Cancer Support Community, an organization that has been in the field for nearly four decades “to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.”
This personalized approach is also being nurtured online by giving Walgreens’ customers the ability to navigate a wealth of information based on the specific side effects they are experiencing.
“Cancer is the least treatable but the most diagnosed illness today,” said Lauren Brindley, group vice president, general merchandise manager for beauty & personal care at Walgreens, during an educational session at Future Stores Seattle last week. “We’ve already had 15,000 services since the campaign launched, and we’re going to have to continue to show up consistently.”
Walgreens | Battle Cry – YouTube
Ms. Brindley also described Walgreens’ plans to expand similar services to people faced with other illnesses, including eczema and diabetes.
CVS, on a similar track, recently announced an expansion of its HealthHub concept with in-store and online services dedicated to chronic disease management for high blood pressure and diabetes. While Walgreens appears to have taken the approach one step further by creating a full-spectrum health experience that leverages the expertise of multiple departments, it’s clear that both retailers are stepping up to offer more meaningful services for their customers.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What role does empathy, if any, play in retail sales and customer service? Would the approach described in the article apply beyond health services such as Walgreens?