Out of all types ofpharmacies—supermarket, mass merchandiser, chain drug stores andmail order–the Wegman's supermarket chain achieved the highestoverall customer satisfaction score. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Pharmacies in the U.S.–both brick-and-mortar and mail order–are pushing theenvelope when it comes to satisfying their customers, and late-entrantsto the field such as Amazon may find it tougher than they think tochallenge those at the top of the heap.

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According to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Pharmacy Study, customers really love theirpharmacies, and for reasons that could make it tough for Amazon tokeep up—at least in the brick-and-mortar category. For the former,it's the availability of health and wellness services that help boostcustomer satisfaction, while for mail-order pharmacies it's the timeliness ofdelivery.

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Related: 6 ways Amazon could up-end the pharmacybusiness

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Among brick-and-mortar pharmacies, those located in supermarketshave the highest satisfaction level, scoring an average of 863 outof 1000; those with health and wellness services score 66 pointshigher in overall satisfaction. Such services are, according to thestudy, “currently present in 86 percent of chain drug stores, 83percent of supermarket pharmacies and 75 percent of massmerchandiser pharmacies.”

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Mail-order pharmacies' chief test is to have prescriptionsready/delivered when promised; those that do score 78 points higherin overall customer satisfaction. Speedy delivery is also a plus,adding 42 points to overall satisfaction scores when prescriptionsare received within five days of completing an order.

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And then there's the personal touch. Says the study, “Servicewith a smile still matters,” pointing out that in brick-and-mortarpharmacies, the second biggest satisfaction driver is“non-pharmacist staff greeted you in a friendly manner,” which canadd 64 points to customer satisfaction levels. Among mail-orderpharmacies, the report finds, being thanked by non-pharmacist staffis associated with a 17-point increase in satisfaction.

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Other factors measured by the study that affect customersatisfaction include the pharmacy's location and environment;out-of-pocket costs and the perceived value of prescription drugs;and the demographics of the customer base.

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Out of all types of pharmacies—supermarket, mass merchandiser,chain drug stores and mail order, the Wegman's supermarket chainachieved the highest overall score, with a score of 906.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.