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J.D. Power and Associates Reports:Pharmacy Staff Interaction with Customers Strongly Impacts Overall Satisfaction with the Retail Pharmacy Experience


Medicine Shoppe, Publix, Target and Caremark Rank Highest in Inaugural National Retail Pharmacy Satisfaction StudySM

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.-The courteousness, availability and concern exhibited by the pharmacy staff can have a major impact on overall customer satisfaction with the retail pharmacy experience, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Retail Pharmacy Customer Satisfaction StudySM released today.

The inaugural study measures customer satisfaction with retail pharmacies in two categories: brick-and-mortar pharmacies and mail-order. Covering retail chain stores, supermarkets and mass-merchandisers, the study identifies six critical factors of customer satisfaction for brick-and-mortar pharmacies: convenience; non-pharmacist staff; medication availability and information; store layout and design; competitiveness of pricing; and pharmacist. Excluding the pharmacist, the same factors are measured for the mail-order segment, which includes online pharmacies.

The study finds that among brick-and-mortar pharmacies, there is a very positive impact on overall satisfaction when the pharmacy staff asks if the customer would like to speak with the pharmacist. While asking this question is generally a benchmark for pharmacy companies—and a requirement in many states—only 63 percent of customers report that they received the offer. Overall satisfaction is particularly higher (817 points on a 1,000-point scale) among customers who were asked if they would like to speak with the pharmacist than those who were not (746 points). Additionally, the pharmacist has a much less significant impact on overall satisfaction due to low levels of customer interaction.

“Asking customers if they would like to speak with the pharmacist doesn’t necessarily increase the likelihood that they will actually want to do so, but making the offer, at the very least, exhibits a sense of concern from the pharmacy staff about the customer’s understanding and comfort with the overall process,” said David Stefan, executive director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “This is one area where brick-and-mortar pharmacies in particular can really improve their customers’ satisfaction. For mail-order pharmacies, it’s slightly different in that courtesy and the appeal of the website are especially critical satisfaction areas.”

Medicine Shoppe leads the retail chain segment with 866 points and receives the highest ratings in all factors driving customer satisfaction. CVS/Pharmacy and Walgreens follow tied at 786 points with the chain drug store average.

With a score of 851 points, Publix ranks highest in the supermarket segment, receiving high ratings in convenience; pharmacy staff; medication availability and information; and store layout and design. Wegman’s follows with 838 points, and Safeway ranks third in the segment with 827 points.

Among mass merchandisers, Target ranks highest with a score of 826 points, performing particularly well in medication availability and information, and store layout and design. Sam’s Club (823) and Kmart (818) closely follow Target in the rankings.

In the mail order segment, Caremark leads with 818 points, receiving the highest ratings in convenience and availability of medication. PharmaCare Management Services follows with 813 points.

In addition to the pharmacy staff, the study finds that the convenience factor is critical in satisfying retail pharmacy customers. Across all brick-and-mortar segments, customers are satisfied with the amount of time it takes to complete the overall ordering process, with the majority of customers experiencing an average wait time of one to 10 minutes to receive their prescription. More than 70 percent of customers in each segment also indicate they received their prescription on time as promised by the pharmacist. Customers in the mail-order segment also note particularly high levels of satisfaction with the availability of medications and usefulness of information via the Internet.

“Although pharmacies are doing well in providing a convenient experience, the percentage of customers who aren’t offered contact with the pharmacist is still alarmingly high,” said Stefan. “Among those who did speak with the pharmacist, customers older than 50 report lower levels of counseling, including the important prescription safety issue of food and drug interactions. Overall, it appears that pharmacies may not be taking full advantage of the pharmacist to help demonstrate value to customers and ensure their safety.”

Additionally, only 5 percent of all customers report experiencing problems while filling their prescription, and less than 1 percent cite accuracy issues with dosage, quantity or correct medication.

The 2007 Retail Pharmacy Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 6,543 consumers who filled a new prescription or refilled prescription in the three months prior to the survey. The study was conducted online in October and November 2006. Visit to view customer satisfaction ratings for retail pharmacies, vision retailers, vision plans and health plans.


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