J.D. Power and Associates' pharmacy study addresses cost, customer service

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. J.D. Power and Associates' release of its annual national pharmacy study on Wednesday underscored customers' sensitivity to cost issues, despite out-of-pocket pharmacy costs virtually remaining unchanged from last year, the global marketing information services company said.

The study, which examined customer satsifaction rates in chain drug stores, mass merchandisers, supermarkets and mail-order pharmacies, found that cost competitiveness accounted for 24% of overall satisfaction among brick-and-mortar customers (versus 10% in 2009) and for 41% among mail-order customers (versus 19% in 2009).

J.D. Power and Associates did point out, however, that customer service did outweigh saving money among respondents.

Based on national average spending by pharmacy customers, a highly satisfied customer may generate $227 in additional prescription revenue each year, J.D. Power and Associates noted.

 

"Consumers are spending more on healthcare expenses in general due to various employer-implemented changes in insurance coverage. High-performing pharmacies aren't necessarily those with the lowest prices. Rather, pharmacies that are focused on service garner the highest levels of satisfaction. Customer service still trumps price, even in an environment where cost has become increasingly important," said Jim Dougherty, director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

 

The highest-ranked businesses included Good Neighbor Pharmacy (869-out-of-1,000 points) for the chain drug sector, Target pharmacies (848-out-of-1,000 points) for mass, Publix pharmacies (862-out-of-1,000 points) for supermarkets and Kaiser Permanente mail-order pharmacies (854-out-of-1,000 points).

The 2010 U.S. national pharmacy study was based on responses from more than 12,300 customers who filled a new prescription or refilled a prescription during the three months prior to the survey period. The study was fielded between May and June.