September 16, 2015
Pharmacist Face Time Improves Drugstore
Customer Satisfaction

Westlake Village, CA—A national survey provides valuable information about how pharmacies can improve customer satisfaction. The secret? Providing the opportunity for customers to speak privately with a pharmacist.

That also improves drugstore sales, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Pharmacy Study. Just asking customers if they would like to speak with a pharmacist boosts overall satisfaction by 54 points on a 1,000 point scale, while providing a private area for the conversation and making sure customers feel like their concerns are handled with discretion raises satisfaction by 99 points, according to the national survey.

The study, based on responses from 14,914 pharmacy customers who filled a new prescription or refilled a prescription during the 3 months prior to the survey period in May and June 2015, also found that customers who speak with pharmacists are much more likely to purchase other items from the drugstore and overall demonstrate higher loyalty rates. Study authors note that 44% of customers who converse with a pharmacist “strongly agree they feel loyal to their pharmacy,” compared to only 35% of those who do not.

In its 9th year, the J.D. Power study measures customer satisfaction with both brick and mortar—which includes chain drug stores, mass merchandisers and supermarkets—and mail order pharmacies. Satisfaction with brick and mortar pharmacies is measured across five factors: prescription ordering; store; cost competitiveness; nonpharmacist staff; and pharmacist. Cost competitiveness, prescription delivery, prescription ordering process, and customer service experience are measured for mail-order pharmacies.

Customer satisfaction with both supermarket and chain drug store pharmacies improved over the last year: from 843 in 2014 to 851 in 2015 for the supermarket outlets and from 840 to 842 for the chain stores. The scores dropped by two points to 842 for mail-order pharmacies and eight points, from 830 to 822, for mass merchandisers with a pharmacy area.

“The healthcare industry has undergone tremendous changes in recent years, and more changes are coming, so stable customer satisfaction with pharmacies is very positive,” said Rick Johnson, director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power. “Pharmacies serve as a benchmark for other entities in the healthcare ecosystem, as they continue to have the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the healthcare industry, demonstrating that focusing on customer satisfaction is good for both patients and businesses.”

Another way to increase customer satisfaction, according to the study, is offering health testing and wellness services at pharmacies; 63% of customers using those benefits said they “definitely will” recommend their pharmacy and 46% “strongly agree they feel loyal to their pharmacy,” compared to 55% and 37%, respectively, among those not using such services.

Offering health services also increases purchases of nonprescription items, with 60% of customers who use these benefits buying other merchandise at the pharmacy, compared to 37% not using them.

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