Among industries that consumers frequent, one continues to delight people more than most: pharmacies.

J.D. Power’s 2018 ratings on U.S. pharmacies finds that consumers do indeed still love their pharmacies after ten years of rating customer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar and mail order channels. “U.S. consumers love their pharmacies,” J.D. Power asserts in its first study finding.

In terms of total points across all pharmacies, Wegmans pharmacy was the overall top-ranked Rx retail channel with a total ranking of 906 out of 1,000 points.

J.D. Power evaluated four categories of pharmacy:

  1. Brick-and-mortar chain drug stores, ranking Good Neighbor Pharmacy number one.
  2. Brick-and-mortar mass merchants, with Sam’s Club ahead of Costco and CVS-inside-Target.
  3. Brick-and-mortar supermarket pharmacies, where Wegmans ranked first ahead of H-E-B, Publix, and other grocers.
  4. Mail order pharmacies, with Humana top-ranked well ahead of Kaiser Permanente, Express Scripts, and OptumRx.

J.D. Power notes that 2018 has been a spotlight year on the pharmacy business, especially related to Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack. “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,” J.D. Power’s healthcare practice leader Greg Truex is quoted in the press release on the study. “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,” Truex believes.

Some of the key findings of the study were that:

Customer satisfaction scores for pharmacies rank high with other consumer-loved industries like banks, property and casualty insurance, and full service investors.

Retail health clinics are paying off for brick-and-mortar pharmacies offering them. Clinics appear to boost satisfaction ratings.

“Service with a smile still matters,” J.D. Power observes. Non-pharmacist staff are important clinical team members in the eyes of consumers.

For this research, J.D. Power mined 10,749 pharmacy customers who filled a prescription in the three months prior to the May-June 2018 survey.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Supermarkets had the highest levels of overall satisfaction across the four pharmacy segments, J.D. Power found.

One of the fascinating aspects of the findings was that “service with a smile still matters.” A key driver-lever in the supermarket was the non-clinical staff that greeted the consumer and said, “thank you.”

This is a social connection converging with a clinical encounter that can’t be overlooked. J.D. Power quantified the customer delight impact and found a real ROI on this aspect of service, which is a differentiating factor across the four retail Rx channels.

Timing and good luck play into a good life, and the pharmacy fates were good to me last Saturday morning when I stopped into my local Wegmans to shop and found a team celebrating the store’s J.D. Power success serving up pieces of this lovely sheet cake. (Photo snapped by me in real time).

Who am I to miss a party? Timing, timing…sweet prescription for a good life.

And for me, Wegmans is indeed a health/care destination for food-as-medicine, a high-performing pharmacy, abundant health-and-beauty aisles with great brands, and an accessible flu shot provider….a convenient, high-quality front-door for health.