Tip of the Week: Develop Devoted Customers

Study results revealed a significant correlation between perceived quality of pharmacy structure, pharmacy engagement, and customer devotion.

What is a devoted customer or patient? If you ask 10 people, you’re likely to get 10 different answers, but there will likely be at least some commonality in most of them. Some of the common elements would likely include loyalty and persistence. For instance, a patient devoted to a particular pharmacist will shop the pharmacy knowing or at least anticipating when that pharmacist is working. A customer devoted to a particular pharmacy will seek goods and services there first before going anywhere else and will recommend the establishment to others. That is why customer devotion is such an important concept.

Researchers Paitoon Chetthamrongchai and Sakapas Saengchai evaluated the impact of perceived service quality and pricing strategies on pharmacy customer devotion. The researchers gathered questionnaire data from 265 community pharmacy customers. Data were generated from several questions, including a set that measured perceived quality of pharmacy structure (e.g. professional appearance, lighting, cleanliness); medication price strategy (e.g. prices in general and prices compared with other similar pharmacies); perceptions of the pharmacist (e.g. provision of dependable service, possessing acute knowledge, willingness to solve problems); pharmacy engagement (e.g. not wanting to visit other pharmacies, anticipating interaction with pharmacy staff, initiating communication with pharmacy staff); and customer devotion (e.g. encouraging friends and relatives to visit the pharmacy).

The study results revealed a significant correlation between perceived quality of pharmacy structure, pharmacy engagement, and customer devotion. Furthermore, they found that pharmacy engagement strengthens the linkage between customer devotion with the other variables and enhances perceptions of service quality.

Perceptions of price did not figure to be statistically significant in any of the analyses, and this is in itself a momentous finding. It doesn’t mean that customers do not care about price. It does mean, though, that low prices do not form the basis of a devoted relationship and do not effectively engage customers. Patients and customers might appreciate low prices and might relay this to someone else if asked, but will not go out of their way to recommend a business establishment just because of lower prices. Rather, it is the experience of feeling valued as clients, being at a place they believe is well kept and professional, then leveraging that into engagement that will make for a devoted customer.

Pharmacy managers and owners who make customers feel valued will likely feel better themselves from the relationships that ensue and may enjoy higher margins on the products and services they sell as a result of having a devoted base.

Additional information about Customer Service and Organizational Structure and Behavior can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

About the Author

Shane P. Desselle, PhD, RPh, FAPhA, is a professor of social and behavioral pharmacy at the Touro University California College of Pharmacy.

Reference

Chetthamrongchai P, Saengchai S. The impact of perceived service quality, stuomer perception and price strategy on pharmacy customer devotion. Polish J Manage Stud. 2019;20(1):139-139-148.