“I can’t get no satisfaction.” So sang The Rolling Stones in their 1965 hit. But lately pharmacy customers seem to be singing a similar song. According to results of the annual J.D. Power survey of customer satisfaction with their pharmacies, patients are less pleased than in the past with their prescription buying experience.
Rick Johnson, Director of the Healthcare Practice with J.D. Power, says that the declining satisfaction can be traced primarily to frustrations with rising costs. “The decrease in satisfaction with cost is the primary drag on overall customer satisfaction, creating a serious challenge for retailers.”
The moral of the story is that satisfaction generally goes down when prices go up.
The J.D. Power study, published in September 2017, is the result of polling over 17,000 pharmacy customers about their prescription filling experience. Satisfaction scores were based on a 1,000 point scale. The survey questioned patients who had recently filled or refilled a prescription either at a local pharmacy, mail-order or specialty pharmacy. Patients responded to questions about satisfaction with pharmacy location, in-store experience, prescription ordering and pickup as well as the cost of their medication.
While the rising costs of prescription medications played the largest role in the decline of patient satisfaction, other factors have to be considered as well.
As a pharmacist myself with 20+ years in the field, I have to wonder if declining patient satisfaction may be related to declining job satisfaction among pharmacists. A study done just a few years ago and published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association looked at job stress and satisfaction within our profession. The results showed “a high level of dissatisfaction with current employment, with more than 50% stating that they were considering quitting their jobs.”
I think pharmacist job satisfaction is probably related to patient satisfaction to some degree. As such, I encourage pharmacists who are unhappy with their current position to be actively looking for great new opportunities to use their skills and contribute to the success of a new company or career path. A great place to start that search is by connecting with a company like Pharmaceutical Strategies.
But in spite of overall declines in satisfaction, the study did highlight many pharmacies that are doing a stellar job in sending their patients home with smiles. Among the top performers in patient satisfaction were grocery store chains like Brookshire, Bi-Lo and Wegman’s, all of whom scored “among the best” (each totaling 890 points or more) in the J.D. Power rating scale. However, not all grocery store pharmacies fared so well. Places like Stop & Shop, Albertsons and Giant Eagle scored relatively low (average score of 839).
Other top performing pharmacies were places like Sam’s Club (874 points) for the Mass Merchandiser category and Good Neighbor Pharmacy (889 points) for the traditional “brick and mortar” pharmacy category. Kaiser Permanente was the top-rated mail-order pharmacy coming in at 884 points in patient satisfaction.
And so, while Mick Jagger and company may complain about not getting any satisfaction, many customers at the pharmacy are still enjoying an overall pleasant experience. But rising costs tend to put a damper on our delight, and this has dragged down customer satisfaction scores lately.