A handful chain drug retailers were among 40 brands identified as 2011 Customer Service Champions by J.D. Power & Associates.

2011 Customer Service Champions, J.D. Power & Associates, chain drug retailers, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, AmerisourceBergen, Health Mart, McKesson, Publix Pharmacy, Publix Super Markets, Wegmans Pharmacy, Wegmans Food Markets, Winn-Dixie Pharmacy, Winn-Dixie Stores, J.D. Power Customer Service Champions, customer service, customer satisfaction, pharmacy, Gary Tucker, customer satisfaction scores, J.D. Power and Associates 2010 National Pharmacy Study

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Chain drug retailers named 'champions' of customer service

February 18th, 2011

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – A handful chain drug retailers were among 40 brands identified as 2011 Customer Service Champions by J.D. Power & Associates.

The marketing firm said Thursday that it has named Good Neighbor Pharmacy (AmerisourceBergen Corp.), Health Mart (McKesson Corp.), Publix Pharmacy (Publix Super Markets Inc.), Wegmans Pharmacy (Wegmans Food Markets Inc.) and Winn-Dixie Pharmacy (Winn-Dixie Stores Inc.) as J.D. Power Customer Service Champions for this year.

Brands receiving the Customer Service Champions designation, J.D. Power explained, are among the top 5% of more than 800 evaluated brands based on customer feedback in five key areas: people, presentation, price, product and process. The marketing firm noted that the champions excel within their industries and stand out when evaluated across industries.

"Today's consumers expect companies to do it all and have the right people, the right presentation, the right price, the right product and the right process," Gary Tucker, senior vice president of global services and emerging industries at J.D. Power, said in a statement. "Brands identified as J.D. Power Customer Service Champions are getting all of these things right. Some are even outperforming the best of their peers in meeting heightened customer expectations."

Over the past decade, average customer satisfaction scores for service-oriented industries have remained flat, whereas in product-based industries satisfaction has improved steadily, J.D. Power pointed out. Also, gaps in satisfaction between the highest- and lowest-performing brands in service industries have increased considerably between 2003 and 2010, the company added.

"Elevating service levels is particularly challenging for a variety of reasons," explained Tucker. "Customers have a seemingly contradictory expectation for both standardization and customization and expect to receive service that is both consistent and reliable and, at the same time, customized to their specific needs. With the availability of real-time information from the Internet, customers increasingly compare service experiences across brands and industries. As a result, when one company raises the bar for service quality within an industry, it raises the bar for other industries as well."

Brands that excel in providing customer service often have higher rates of customer retention, pricing advantages and reduced costs to acquire new customers, compared with companies with lower levels of customer service satisfaction, according to J.D. Power. The marketing firm said many brands that provide top-notch customer service employ certain key practices, such as communicating effectively and proactively with customers, empowering their people to solve problems, measuring and understanding customer expectations, and providing their products and services with speed and convenience.

Among customers of "champion" brands, 62% said they "definitely would" recommend the brand to family and friends, compared with just 23% of customers of other companies evaluated. In addition, 58% of customers of J.D. Power Champions said they "definitely would" repurchase products or services from those brands, compared with just 36% of customers of other brands.

The five chain drug operators recognized as Customer Service Champions reflect the findings of the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 National Pharmacy Study, released in late September.

In that study, Good Neighbor Pharmacy ranked the highest in customer satisfaction among chain drug pharmacies with a score of 869, followed by Health Mart at 856. Both of those chains are independent pharmacy franchises that are run by pharmaceutical distributors — AmerisourceBergen and McKesson, respectively. The other three companies in the top five scores by brick-and-mortar pharmacy operators were supermarkets: Publix (862), Wegmans Food Markets (859) and Winn-Dixie (853).