Toronto, Ontario, Canada -- Survey results released Wednesday by customer experience management firm Empathica Inc. revealed that customer service is the key driver of brand advocacy in retail pharmacy.
In the survey, during which the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel surveyed consumers on their perception, attitude and opinion towards the retail pharmacy experience, Kroger ranked highest in customer service among both mass and small-chain pharmacies.
The top six pharmacies in terms of market share are Costco, CVS, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart. Of these pharmacies, Kroger received top marks in nearly all customer service categories, including choice, service and trust.
Four-out-of-five Kroger customers agree or strongly agree that they would recommend their pharmacy to friends and family. For other brands, only about 40% surveyed would advocate for their primary pharmacy.
“Retail pharmacies can create a ‘win-win’ relationship with consumers by providing exemplary customer service; in turn, there is an opportunity for customers to ‘work’ for their primary pharmacy as brand advocates,” said Dr. Gary Edwards, chief customer officer, Empathica. “There is little room for winning a price war in pharmacy retail. The real battlefront for pharmacies is in customer service and convenience.”
While the survey results showed a strong link between customer service and customer advocacy, there are several areas where pharmacies can make adjustments to enhance the customer experience. Of the three mass retailers (Walmart, Kroger, Costco) and three specialty drug chain retailers (Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid), results showed that both types of pharmacies can improve by learning from the other’s best practices.
Empathica found that mass retailers are lacking in terms of providing loyalty programs. Only one-third of mass retail pharmacy customers indicated that they are aware of loyalty programs, compared to 43% of specialty drug chain retail customers.
Specialty drug chain retailers can look to mass retailers as exemplars in providing in-store promotions. While only 32% of specialty drug chain retail customers answered that they “always” find attractively-priced promotions, 44% of mass retail customers had the same response to this question. It appears that while mass retailers capitalize on buyer power to offer the best deal, specialty drug chain retailers are better suited to relying on loyalty programs.