Despite e-commerce disruptions to the industry, a recent study found that the United States pharmacy industry continues to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction in both the brick-and-mortar and mail order segments.

The 2019 JD Power U.S. Pharmacy Study also found that while pharmacy customers are slow to adopt digital offerings, satisfaction increases when they do. This year, the study—in its 11th year—is based on responses from 12,059 pharmacy customers who filled a prescription during the 3 months prior to the survey period of May-June 2019.

The researchers divided the rankings into 4 segments: brick-and-mortar chain pharmacies, brick-and-mortar mass merchandisers, brick-and-mortar supermarkets, and mail order.
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy ranked highest overall among brick-and-mortar chain pharmacies, with a score of 914. Health Mart ranked second and Rite Aid Pharmacy ranked third, with scores of 893 and 865, respectively.
  • Sam's Club ranked highest among brick-and-mortar mass merchandiser pharmacies with a score of 890, followed by Costco and CVS/pharmacy inside Target stores. They received scores of 879 and 869, respectively.
  • With a score of 915, Wegmans ranked highest overall among brick-and-mortar supermarket pharmacies. It was followed by Publix and Winn-Dixie, with scores of 897 and 896, respectively.
  • Humana Pharmacy ranked highest in the mail order category, followed by Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy and OptumRx. They received scores of 900, 886, and 869, respectively.
The researchers also identified some key findings for the industry:
  • Face-to-face interaction is still the most prevalent communication. The study found that 89% of pharmacy customers still communicate with the pharmacist and staff in-person, but customers who use email or online live chat are equally or more satisfied.
  • Thorough pharmacist discussions yield higher customer satisfaction. On a 1000-point scale, customer satisfaction with the pharmacist is above 940 when pharmacists cover 4 or more topics with the consumer during their interaction. When just 1 topic is covered, satisfaction is at 884; and when 2 topics are covered, satisfaction is at 917.
  • Health and wellness customers spend more at the pharmacy. Nearly half (42%) of customers who are aware of their pharmacy's health and wellness services have used 1 of those services in the last year. Those who have taken advantage of the services spent 12.5% more on their most recent prescription order. However, significantly less health and wellness customers received a prescription as a result of their participation in these services in 2019, compared with 2018.
  • Mobile app users are more satisfied, but usage is stagnant. Only 20% of customers use their pharmacy's mobile app, but those users had satisfaction scores as much as 23 points higher than those who did not use the app.
"As technology companies promise to change the way Americans address their pharmacy needs, our data suggests that changing such entrenched behavior will be an uphill battle," Gregg Truex, managing director of Health Intelligence at JD Power, said in a statement. "Customers enjoy visiting their brick-and-mortar pharmacy, and they get a great deal of satisfaction from speaking directly with pharmacists. However, the potential for technology disruption is there."

Reference

Pharmacy Customers Slow to Adopt Digital Offerings but Satisfaction Increases When They Do, J.D. Power Finds [news release]. Costa Mesa, CA; August 20, 2019: J.D. Power. https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2019-us-pharmacy-study. Accessed August 20, 2019.