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Q&A with Wellness Ambassador Amanda Morrison

Wellness Ambassador Amanda Morrison, with iPad in hand, beside her work station at her Toms River, N.J. store.

Wellness Ambassador Amanda Morrison, with iPad in hand, beside her work station at her Toms River, N.J. store.

From fresh new interiors and additional wellness products to interactive kiosks and expanded clinical pharmacy services, Rite Aid’s new Wellness stores have plenty of bells and whistles to give customers a better shopping experience and help them lead healthier, happier lives.

To help deliver on Rite Aid’s promise to its customers that “With Us, It’s Personal,” most Wellness stores will offer the personal touch of a Wellness Ambassador. These associates are equipped with an iPad and have a work station located near the middle of the store. Their top priority is to provide personalized assistance to customers in the aisles and serve as a bridge between the front-end and pharmacy, whether that means helping customers find products, using iPad apps to provide useful information or leading customers to the pharmacist to ask questions or receive product recommendations.

With Rite Aid planning to expand the Wellness store concept to additional stores this year, The Rite Times recently interviewed Amanda Morrison, a Wellness Ambassador in Toms River, N.J., to find out more about how these associates provide a better shopping experience to customers.

When did you become a Wellness Ambassador and what do you enjoy about your new role?

I became a Wellness Ambassador six months ago and I love it. It’s a great opportunity to work with customers and develop personal relationships. Customers really appreciate that I can help answer their questions and give them the information they need. For example, we’ve had patients come in and say their physician told them to take an iron supplement, but the patient has no idea why. I can use the iPad to find information about the benefits of iron and print it out for them.

In what other ways do you help customers?
They love that I can provide special coupons and print them right on the spot. There are days when I print so many coupons that I almost run out of paper. I’ve been signing up a lot of customers for wellness+. I can also use the iPad to help them transfer prescriptions or create a personalized vitamin profile for someone who wants to manage their weight, for example.

How do you approach customers and how do they respond when you introduce yourself?
The way they remodeled the store, the shelves are lower and you can see most of the store from the vitamin and OTC area. So any customer I see, I say “Hello” and welcome them to Rite Aid. I ask them if there is anything I can help them with and, 9 times out of 10, they need help. When they don’t need help, I always say “if there’s anything we can help you with, feel free to call me. My name is Amanda.” And they really appreciate it, even if they’re just going back to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription.

Are there any customer interactions from the past six months that stand out as you reflect back on your time as a Wellness Ambassador?
There are so many. I had a gentleman come in yesterday whose feet were really bothering him. I walked him over to our new Dr. Scholl’s orthotics station [a feature in some of the Wellness stores]. He bought some orthotics and said, “If this is going to help I’m going to be so thankful.” Personally, I have those orthotics and I know how much they’ve helped me. So I know he is going to really benefit from the service we can provide by being a Wellness store.

You mentioned the Dr. Scholl’s kiosk. What other features of this new store format are generating positive feedback from your customers?
They think the store is beautiful. They like the separate “him” and “her” sections for beauty products. The aisles are wider and the shelves are lower, which makes the store look bigger. That also makes it easier for me to locate customers and easier for them to find me. Customers also like our expanded vitamins section and the fact that they can buy organic snacks here. We also have an interactive kiosk that can test your vision, which is very popular.

I understand that you also serve as an ambassador for Rite Aid in the community. How so?
We do a lot of networking. I take flyers to doctors’ offices or senior communities at least one day per week. We’re actually signed up to work at a “Village Fair” at one of our local senior communities so that we can talk to them about the new services and products we have to offer and get the word out about our new store.
So it sounds like things are going well. They really are. This is a great opportunity for Rite Aid. With the way healthcare is going, the services we offer here are going to become more important. The customers here are benefitting from what we’re doing.