Despite having high levels of customer satisfaction, retail pharmacies have a number of areas where they can improve service in filling prescriptions, research from Boehringer Ingelheim's Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse Survey reveals.


Boehringer Ingelheim's Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse Survey, retail pharmacies, Rx service, customer satisfaction, filling prescriptions, prescription wait time, out-of-stock medication, chain drug stores, supermarket pharmacy, independent pharmacy, chain drug customers, mass merchant pharmacy, clinic pharmacy, independent drug store






























































































































































































































INSIDE THIS ISSUE
News
Opinion
Other Services
Reprints / E-Prints
Submit News
White Papers

Retail News Breaks Archives

Rx service: Where pharmacies can improve

October 22nd, 2012
by Greg Jacobson & Russell Redman

NEW YORK – Despite having high levels of customer satisfaction, retail pharmacies have a number of areas where they can improve service in filling prescriptions, research from Boehringer Ingelheim's Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse Survey reveals.

Convenience headlines the findings, and in that area chain drug stores had mixed results. The study is based on 20-minute online interviews with national sample of 34,424 adult pharmacy customers who filled six or more prescriptions (including refills) during the previous 12 months.

For example, chain drug customers had the second-highest median wait time for their prescriptions at 60 minutes, the same as mass merchant pharmacy customers and ahead only of clinic patients, who had a 70-minute median wait time.

By comparison, customers had a median prescription wait time of 15 minutes at independent drug stores and 45 minutes at supermarket pharmacies.

Of chain drug patients, 11% of those surveyed had prescription wait times of up to 10 minutes, 33% waited 11 to 30 minutes and 15% waited 31 minutes to 1 hour. Another 30% said they waited over an hour to a day, and 11% said they waited more than one day.

Wait Time For Filling Prescriptions

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Nearly a third (32%) of independent drug store customers reported a wait of 10 minutes or less for prescriptions, 34% waited 11 to 30 minutes and 7% waited 31 minutes to an hour. Eighteen percent waited more than an hour to a day, and 7% waited more than a day.

Of supermarket pharmacy patients, 11% had a wait of 10 minutes or less for scripts, 37% waited 11 to 30 minutes and 11% waited 31 minutes to an hour. Thirty percent waited more than an hour to a day, and 11% waited over a day.

Seven percent of mass merchant pharmacy customers surveyed said they waited 10 minutes or less for their prescriptions, while 35% waited 11 to 30 minutes and 13% waited 31 minutes to an hour. Thirty-two percent waited more than an hour to a day, and 13% waited over a day.

Among all types of pharmacies, 13% of customers waited up to 10 minutes for their scripts, 34% waited 11 to 30 minutes, 13% waited 31 minutes to an hour, 28% waited more than an hour to a day, and 13% waited over a day.

A key factor that likely accounts for some of the disparities in fill times — and not included in the study data — is prescription dispensing rate, given the differences in script volumes at chain drug stores, mass merchants, supermarket pharmacies and independent drug stores.

The survey, however, shed light on another critical area of pharmacy service: in-stocks. Overall, a third of customers had to return to their pharmacy to get a prescription filled at least once in the past year because the medication wasn't in stock.

Out-Of-Stock Rxs: Patients Who Had To Return Later Or Go To Another Pharmacy

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Forty percent of supermarket pharmacy patients reported having to come back later due to an out-of-stock medication, compared with 35% for chain drug and mass merchant Rx customers, 32% for independent pharmacy customers and 19% for clinic patients.

Meanwhile, 15% of chain drug Rx customers went to another pharmacy to get their prescription because of an out-of-stock medication, versus 12% for mass merchant pharmacy customers, 11% for supermarket and clinic pharmacy patients, and 9% for independent pharmacy customers.

Of the 15% of chain drug Rx patients that went to another pharmacy because their drug wasn't in stock, 53% went to a different location from the same chain and 47% went to another chain's store.

The extensive market coverage and closer proximity of outlets belonging to the same chain — a key advantage for chain drug store operators — make it easier for pharmacy customers to go to another location and have their prescription filled, which at least minimizes the inconvenience of having to do so. That view is borne out in the survey findings. The percentage of Rx patients going to another operator's pharmacy due to out-of-stock medications was significantly higher for independents (79%), mass merchants (76%) and supermarkets (65%) than for chain drug outlets.

The frequency with which drug chains offer extended hours and even 24-hour pharmacies is another important asset when it comes to convenience and service. Though 23% of all respondents reported having to return or go to a different pharmacy because the pharmacy was closed when they wanted to pick up or drop off a prescription, both chains and independents did better than the average, with 21% scores.

Rx customers indicated that providing printed health information is another opportunity for improvement, although it's much less important than such factors as pricing or prescription wait time. While more customers of independent drug stores (79%), clinics (78%) and supermarket pharmacies (77%) were satisfied on this score, chain drug customers were generally content (74%) as well. Moreover, the number of those who were very satisfied (52%) increased more than five percentage points year over year.

Topping pharmacy customers' lists of areas needing improvement is prescription pricing. The study shows that satisfaction decreased across all pharmacy types as the economy worsened from 2010 to 2011, yet it has stabilized in the latest findings.

The bad news for chain drug is that when it comes to pricing, dissatisfaction with the channel is higher than for any other type of pharmacy except mail order/online. No fewer than 13% of chain drug customers declared themselves very or somewhat dissatisfied with their prescription pricing, a figure exceeded only by mail order/online pharmacies at 19%.

By contrast, independent drug store customers reported only 8% dissatisfied with Rx pricing, while 81% described themselves as somewhat or very satisfied. In fact, the percentage of those who were very satisfied with independents' pricing rose more than five percentage points year over year to hit 55%.

Among chain drug customers, only 38% described themselves as very satisfied (exceeding only the 37% achieved by mail order/online), and 33% said they were somewhat satisfied.

Advertisement