Chain drug stores as a group have seen pharmacy customer satisfaction climb, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 National Pharmacy Study.


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Chain drug Rx customer satisfaction increases

October 11th, 2010

NEW YORK – Chain drug stores as a group have seen pharmacy customer satisfaction climb, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 National Pharmacy Study.

The annual survey measures customer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies. Brick-and-mortar pharmacies include chain drug stores, supermarkets and mass merchandisers (discount stores and warehouse clubs).

The 2010 study polled over 12,300 customers who filled a new prescription or refilled a prescription in the past three months. Rating pharmacies on a 1,000-point scale, the study evaluated five key factors: the prescription ordering and pickup process, the stores, cost competitiveness, pharmacists and nonpharmacist staff.

In the chain drug segment the average score was 805, up from 798 last year. Of the nation’s largest drug chains, Walgreens led with a score of 807 (up from 790 in 2009), followed by Rite Aid at 794 (up from 783) and CVS Caremark at 789 (down from 794). Duane Reade, now part of Walgreens, scored 688 (down from 710).

Yet the highest chain drug rating — and overall — came from Good Neighbor Pharmacy, which scored 869. The AmerisourceBergen Corp. unit (not rated last year) and two other pharmacy franchise networks, Health Mart (McKesson Corp.) and Medicine Shoppe (Cardinal Health Inc.), were the top three chain drug finishers. Health Mart, which came in first among chain drug stores last year, scored 856 (down from 864 in 2009) and Medicine Shoppe rated 851 (down from 857).

As a group, supermarket pharmacies had the highest average satisfaction score (824), and three chains were among the top five overall scores: Publix (862), Wegmans (859) and Winn-Dixie (853). Weg­mans had the highest overall score of brick-and-mortar pharmacies last year.

Rounding out the top 10 in supermarkets were Hy-Vee (850), Hannaford (828), H.E. Butt (824), Jewel-Osco (820), Ralphs (819), Kroger (816) and Albertsons (813).

Mass merchandisers had the lowest average score (794) of brick-and-mortar pharmacies, yet the top finishers had higher ratings than the three biggest drug store chains. Target led the mass merchandiser field with an 848 score, followed by Costco (844), Sam’s Club (844), Kmart (818) and Walmart (769).

In the mail order segment, the average score was 814.

Overall, the study found that cost competitiveness accounted for 24% of satisfaction among brick-and-mortar customers (versus 10% in 2009) and for 41% among mail order customers (versus 19% in 2009).

“Customers have become notably more sensitive to cost issues in 2010,” stated Jim Dougherty, director of the health care practice at J.D. Power. Still, he added, “High-performing pharmacies aren’t necessarily those with the lowest prices. Rather, pharmacies that are focused on service garner the highest levels of satisfaction. Customer service still trumps price, even in an environment where cost has become increasingly important.”

Customer satisfaction tends to revolve around good and bad experiences far more often than prescription cost, with the chief complaints being unfriendly pharmacy staff, long wait times and prescription mistakes.

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