WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Customer satisfaction with retail pharmacies has increased faster than mail-order pharmacies despite the perceived cost competitiveness of the latter, according to a new study.
J.D. Power released its 2013 Pharmacy Study Monday, showing that satisfaction with brick-and-mortar pharmacies was 837 points, up 23 points from last year. During the same period, satisfaction with mail-order pharmacies increased from 792 to 797. The study was based on responses from more than 13,500 pharmacy customers between July and August who filled or refilled a prescription the three months before the survey period.
"For the most part, the widening gap in satisfaction has more to do with improved satisfaction in the brick-and-mortar segment than declining satisfaction in mail order," J.D. Power director of healthcare practice Scott Hawkins said. "For mail-order pharmacies, it's important to combine high-tech with high-touch. Not only does the online experience need to keep technological pace with other retail sites that pharmacy customers visit, but customer service opportunities that provide personal connections are essential as well."
In terms of cost advantage, mail-order had a seven-point advantage over brick-and-mortar in 2011, but a 20-point disadvantage in 2013. Meanwhile, the percentage of customers who indicated that they refilled prescriptions at a brick-and-mortar pharmacy increased to 61%, from 58% a year ago. Among drug chains, Good Neighbor Pharmacy ranked highest among chain drug stores, while Target ranked highest among mass-merchandisers, and Publix topped the supermarket segment. Kaiser Permanente Mail Pharmacy ranked highest in mail-order.