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How Netmeds is changing the e-pharmacy ecosystem during lockdown

How Netmeds is changing the e-pharmacy ecosystem during lockdown
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By Mr. Bruce Schwack, Director of Communications, Netmeds.com

When Netmeds.com was created, we envisioned building the largest healthcare platform and providing a Pan-Indian portal for medicine, OTC products, diagnostics and consultations, and making them all more accessible and more affordable. What we did not envision is that Netmeds would become a vital lifeline during the most challenging medical crisis in the history of the modern world. 

Once embraced as a practical money-saving convenience, Netmeds.com and the larger “e-pharmacy” ecosystem have suddenly been thrust into the limelight, as the “go to resource” for these “essential” items.  Prior to these crazy times, people tended to take for granted access to the basics, like food and water, and for about 1 in every 5 people, medicine. That’s right, more than 20% of the Indian population depends on a regular dose of medicine to control “non-communicable” diseases like BP, diabetes, various cancers, and heart disease. And the cruelest irony is that these people are understandably those most susceptible to the newest and deadliest “communicable” disease.

So millions of locked-down patients look to the online pharmacies like Netmeds.com for their regular dose of whatever is keeping them healthy enough to fight off or survive the Covid-19 should they be exposed.  Netmeds gladly accepts the task at hand, but being put in such a position is both a supreme privilege and an almost overwhelming challenge, and what is amazing is that the vast majority of our hundreds of employees are rising to this challenge while adapting to the very new paradigm of “Work From Home”.

And on the very front lines of this battle to keep the nation healthy is our Customer Service team. Even in the best of times, “customer service” is somewhat of a misnomer, since most CS contact relates to a problem, and I often jokingly refer to the team as the Customer Dissatisfaction Group and often warn the team “not to expect a lot of happy calls today.”  In fact, I do an exercise at my public speaking engagements where I ask the crowd to stand up if they ever called a customer service department, and of course, they all stand. Then I asked them to sit down if they ever called customer service just to say everything was great. You get the picture, everyone is still standing. But now, things have changed, the calls and chats and emails have become ever more distressed, even frantic, as people seek information about their pending deliveries. And that is why we have taken a new, and even more, humanistic approach, as we have imparted to our CS agents that during these contacts, whether by voice or chat, they have the ability to convey not only “informational updates” but also, hope and optimism. The fact that they are working from home, not surrounded by their peers, and are now charged with the responsibility to be not only efficient, but also downright cheerful, and they are doing it, is not only a testament to their training, their leadership and their dedication, but is also a reflection of the indomitable nature of the Indian spirit. And the next time you have occasion to contact a customer service agent, remember, they are doing a really tough job, fighting adversity and winning, and a little patience goes a long way, and kindness is a two-way street.

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