What you should take away from the JD Power US Pharmacy Study

Pharmacy Branding on Direction Sign - Green Arrow on a Grey Background.

The landscape of retail pharmacy is getting weirder and weirder, isn’t it? Continued consolidation of the “big corner clones” which further creates a “superpower connection” between government (over-seer’s of our health care industry), PBM’s and Pharma…in my mind, an un-holy trinity of disease state management, cost gauging, and continually failing customer experience.

What about the customer, where do they fit in this equation? What about their levels of satisfaction?

JD Power recently published their annual US Pharmacy Study. Understanding the importance of the consumer experience as being one of the most effective ways to optimize ones marketing practices, this study is designed to provide a framework to help pharmacies define and take advantage of customer satisfaction.

This study looked at 5 Factors:

  1. Prescription ordering
  2. Cost competiveness
  3. In store experience and satisfaction
  4. Pharmacist
  5. Non-pharmacist staff

Where the designated types of pharmacies studied were described as: Major chains, Mass Merchandisers, Supermarkets and Mail order pharmacies, independent minded chains such as Health Mart, Good Neighbor, and Medicine Shoppe should give some good insight for the stand alone independent pharmacy.

The study scored the type of pharmacy categories and came up with a numerical value. Below you will find a brief summation on how each category is trending, as well as examples of stores within the category.

  • Supermarket pharmacy improves from 843 to 851(Wegmens, Publix, H.E.B)
  • Chain drug store pharmacy improves 840 to 842 (good neighbor, health mart and medicine shoppe leading the way)
  • Mailorder drops 822 to 820 (Humana , Kaiser, Express)
  • Mass merchandiser drops 830 to 822 (Target, Sams Club, then Meijer)

I think the fact that chains such as Walgreens and CVS are clumped in with more independent operators including Health Mart, Good Neighbor and Medicine shoppe actually confuses the results, as consumer experiences at the Walgreens, CVS’s and RiteAids of the world don’t generally rank high.

Major Take Homes that Can Start Improving Customer Experience NOW:

  • The study finds that the simple step of asking customers whether they would like to speak with a pharmacist causes overall satisfaction to improve by 54 points.
  • When customers perceive their conversations are handled with discretion and a private area for discussions is provided, satisfaction rises by 99 points.
  • Customers who speak with pharmacists are significantly more likely to purchase other items from the pharmacy and demonstrate high loyalty.
    – 44% of customers who speak with a pharmacist “strongly agree they feel loyal to their pharmacy”
    – Only 35% of those who don’t speak with a pharmacist “feel loyal to their pharmacy”
  • Brick and Mortar – vs – Mailorder on cost savings
    -On Avg. Customers of brick and mortar pay $23 out of pocket per prescription
    – On Avg. Customers of mailorder pay $32 out of pocket per prescription

In Summary:

  • Consumers prefer the independent minded pharmacy
  • Consumers want to speak to the pharmacist over the staff, and will buy more when they do
  • Brick and Mortar actually costs less for the consumer than mailorder

Resources:

http://www.jdpower.com/resource/us-pharmacy-study

http://www.chaindrugreview.com/

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