Supermarkets lead the field among brick-and-mortar retailers when it comes to pharmacy customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Pharmacy Study.
The annual survey, which polled 10,749 customers who filled or refilled a prescription in the previous three months, gauges pharmacy customer satisfaction with chain drug, supermarket, mass merchant and mail-order pharmacies using a 1,000-point scale. Areas examined include the prescription ordering process, cost competitiveness, pharmacists, non-pharmacist staff, prescription pickup, the store and prescription delivery.
As in the 2017 study, the supermarket segment this year posted the highest overall pharmacy satisfaction rating with an average score of 863, compared with 846 for chain drugstores, 845 for mass merchants and 859 for mail order. Supermarket pharmacies also accounted for seven of the top 10 brick-and-mortar players.
Wegmans Food Markets ranked No. 1 in supermarkets and among all companies with a pharmacy customer satisfaction score of 906.
Rounding out the top 10 in brick-and-mortar pharmacies were Good Neighbor Pharmacy (903), H-E-B (897), Sam’s Club (892), Publix (891), Health Mart (890), Winn-Dixie (874), ShopRite (873), Stop & Shop (869) and Kroger (863).
Other supermarkets rated in pharmacy customer satisfaction this year by J.D. Power included Albertsons (861), Hy-Vee (847), Giant Eagle (833), Giant (831) and Safeway (819).
The nation’s top three pharmacy retailers by prescriptions filled — Walgreens (840), CVS Pharmacy (843) and Walmart (833) — posted below-average scores in their respective segments. Rite Aid, the next largest by prescription count, equaled the chain drug average with a score of 846.
“The retail pharmacy business has been in the spotlight ever since Amazon announced in June 2018 that it’s getting into the space,” said Greg Truex, senior director and health care practice leader at J.D. Power, referring to the e-tail giant’s $1 billion acquisition of online startup PillPack Inc.
“Amazon, or any other organization looking to disrupt the $100 billion U.S. mail-order pharmacy market, will have their work cut out for them,” he noted. “Legacy pharmacy players have invested heavily in delivering superior service, while brick-and-mortar pharmacies are starting to reap significant customer satisfaction gains from retail-style clinics offering health and wellness services.”
Indeed, J.D. Power’s research showed that retail health clinics boost a key metric of pharmacy customer satisfaction: the availability of health and wellness services, which is associated with a 66-point improvement in overall satisfaction. The study said retail clinics and other health services are found in 86% of chain drugstores, 83% of supermarket pharmacies and 75% of mass merchant pharmacies.
Among the top 10 brick-and-mortar pharmacy retailers, Kroger (The Little Clinic) and H-E-B (RediClinic) offer in-store clinics, while chains like Wegmans, Publix and ShopRite have dietitians who help customers improve nutrition to realize better health outcomes. Meanwhile, Sam’s Club serves up a wide range of free health screenings and tests throughout the year.
Friendly, engaging customer service also still matters, J.D. Power noted. Among brick-and-mortar pharmacies, the second-most effective driver of satisfaction was "non-pharmacist staff greeted you in a friendly manner," which fueled a 64-point increase in customer satisfaction, the study found.