Interview with Danny Tsang, Owner of Accurate Pharmacy: Fostering Human Connection
Now more than ever, human interaction seems to be missing from our lives. Most of us are guilty of ordering almost everything online. We tend to lack that human connection in our day to day purchases. One local small business, Accurate Pharmacy (5th Ave and corner of 18th St), is bringing that connection back in a meaningful way in this age of mobile interaction and automated calls. Let’s get to know Danny Tsang, the owner and person who will greet you at the door every day and very likely remember you by name!
SSP: Before we dive into what makes your local small business so special to the South Slope community, can you please tell us a little about yourself and how your life led to the opening of Accurate Pharmacy?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn and recently moved into Park Slope. I’m a father to two beautiful daughters (ages 4 and 6), and husband to Sarah - a lifelong friend, business partner, and professional colleague. Sarah is a Pediatric Pharmacist and works at New York Presbyterian - Weill Cornell Medical Center and just celebrated her 15 year anniversary there (which includes her intern years).
While working at corporate pharmacies, I’ve decided that I wanted to spend more time with patients and foster a trusting relationship. Therefore, I developed a business plan that carried us to our upcoming fourth year in business and hopefully many more. I believe that pharmacies should not be driven by metrics and quotas, but simply by the number of families that it has touched upon and made a positive outcome.
We strongly believe and advocate that the pharmacy’s role in healthcare is integral in patients’ well being (a visit to the pharmacy is usually the patients’ last stop before they go home “to the road of recovery”; therefore, taking time and counseling each patient, and arming them with proper knowledge specifically regarding the medication (or regimen) will ensure compliance and reduce risk of unwanted adverse effects). We can also assist and collaborate with patients’ healthcare provider to reduce adverse events and increase compliance.
SSP: When did you open the store, and what was your goal when you opened it?
The pharmacy grand-opened September 14, 2014. The main goal is PATIENT CARE. In the world of healthcare as pharmacist, we have the unique opportunity to improve outcomes, lower costs, and raise the quality of life for patients; after all, we are the last person or location patients will visit before going home to rest and recover.
Another goal is to break the cycles of any bad associations patients have with pharmacies. This includes remaining transparent with patients, working with patients, doctors, and pharmacy insurances to come up with a mutually agreed treatment plan, reducing wait time, and providing thoughtful personal services.
SSP: Local Park Slope residents have shown great appreciation for you and your pharmacy. One such positive review says “Danny is the best pharmacist I've ever known! He takes his time to answer any questions, has helped me to understand my insurance and goes above and beyond for all of his customers. I always thought local pharmacy=more expensive but that is definitely not the case. I will never go to a chain pharmacy again! I had a friend go pick up some medicine with me and after experiencing the wonderful customer service, they now walk a mile past their pharmacy just to go to Accurate. I really can't say enough great things” (Yelp). How do you think you deliver such positive experiences to your customers?
Dedication and hard work. Sarah and I have worked each and every day the pharmacy is open since grand opening. We have made a commitment to get to know the neighbors for us to understand how we can position ourselves to help and be useful in the community.
SSP: Folks love the personal attention they receive when they enter your store. You even take the time to greet customers by name. Why is this so important to you, creating these personal connections?
Sarah and I believe it is important to create an emotional connection via patient/customer engagement. Greeting customers and patients as they enter the pharmacy triggers positive conversations. A warm and sincere greeting serves as a tool to help connect people at a more personal level and may even reduce the imaginary “defensive walls” to create a comfortable environment. This will then foster a open patient/customer and pharmacist relationship where it is more likely for questions to be asked and counseling is seeked.
SSP: One local Park Slope mom has told me that she had complained about a prescription she received and you took the time to call the distributor to get a better product for her - truly going above and beyond for your customers. If a customer has questions about a medication, you will call or text them answers. Can you please tell us more about how you deliver such outstanding customer service?
I’m glad we can reference an example where a patient complained about a specific prescription. We listen and put ourselves into the patients’ shoes. Listening is one of the many important skills in customer service. As a small business owner, we may not always have the ability or resources to solve every customer’s problems, but we can always offer them our 100% attention, by listening, and then respond appropriately and thoughtfully. In certain cases, it can also turn a negative experience into a positive one. In this example, we made a call to the manufacturer of the patient’s medication and made them aware that there was a complaint. This allows the manufacturer to collect data and hopefully improve and reduce similar incidences. We are then able to work with our distributors and get a similar product to replace the damaged medication. It all seems like a simple interaction, but if the patient did not inform us about the issue, and decided not to take the medication, then this might have led to an undesirable medication non-compliance issue. It is crucial to us, for my patients, to understand how to use/take their medications comfortably so they can achieve a better outcome.
Listening to customer feedbacks also help us improve. I remember when we started, our shelves were bare and stocked with items that our neighbors weren’t looking for; by listening to our patients’ and neighbors comments, we have transitioned ourselves to their daily stop - carrying as many essentials items and medications that our small location can fit.
SSP: Our South Slope Pediatrics family would surely like to know more about your offering at the store. I understand you sell things like Honest diapers and Melissa and Doug toys! Can you please tell us more about your offering, to young parents in particular? Are there other services that are unique to your store, which we should know about?
We offer all the same standard services as most pharmacies, but I am also a Kings County Notary Public and approved NYS Department of Motor Vehicle vision test center. The pharmacy is also a UPS Access Point which for the neighbors’ convenience, may drop off packages here. We also have a photo processing lab located directly behind the pharmacy (side entrance). Services in the photo department includes passport photo, photo touch ups, film processing, etc.
SSP: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our parents about your store?
We also dispense prescription medication and compound individualized medications for pets (offering the best available prices). For example, if your cat loves their medication chicken flavored - we can help!
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