Eckerd Drug, Albany, Georgia.






Background Information

· Eckerd Drugs is the third largest pharmacy chain in the nation.

· Eckerd offers many different types of merchandise and services to its customers.

· One of these services is the pharmacy, which accounts for almost half of a store’s sales each year.

· Eckerd has gained a reputation as offering very good customer service to its patrons.

· The majority of training an Eckerd employee receives involves customer service issues.

· As with many customer service oriented businesses, Eckerd believes the customer is always right without exception.

· Eckerd has the slogan “Act as if your job depends on the customer’s happiness, because it does” hanging in each of its stores’ employee break-rooms.

· The company is always striving to improve its customer service standards to keep established customers and gain new ones.

· This attention to the customers needs is what has catapulted Eckerd to its position as a leader in the retail pharmaceutical business.

The Problem and the Development of a Solution

· Wait time, for filling prescriptions, is a major concern for customers and pharmacists.

· Because of wait time, customers are receiving inadequate customer service.

· We interviewed the pharmacist and found that it takes an average of five minutes to fill a prescription.

· We found the current system used to inform customers of the wait time is not very efficient or customer service oriented.

· Our group, knowing customer service is a top priority for Eckerd, proposed a two-week trial plan to inform customers of the wait time for filling their prescriptions.

· The plan involves a number system in which the customer takes a number that corresponds to a “now serving number” dry-erase board to allow the customer to see how many prescriptions are ahead of their prescriptions.

· There is also a sign explaining the estimated five minutes needed for filling a prescription.

· The customer can simply calculate the number of prescriptions ahead of them and multiply by five to see the estimated time it will take to get their prescriptions filled.

Why is this better?

· We feel this system is much better than the current system in which customers stand at the counter, sometimes for 30 minutes or more, waiting for their prescriptions.

· The misunderstanding about the wait time causes many problems and frustrations for both the pharmacist and the customer.

· The customer asking how much longer it will take to fill the prescription is constantly distracting the pharmacist and the customer feels left in the dark about the wait time.

· With the customer knowing the wait time right away, he or she is free to shop around the store or go somewhere else and come back later for their medication.

· Also, happier customers are more inclined to return to the store and to provide positive encouragement in the market.

Feedback and Verification of the Plan

· We devised a questionnaire system to measure the customers’ reactions to our new plan.

· We asked the questions:

· 1) Do you like the new system for tracking prescription times?

· 2) Was your prescription ready in the time promised?

· We placed a questionnaire in each customer’s prescription bag and asked him or her to return it when they brought in their next prescription.

· Out of the 300 questionnaires, we used, 196 were returned to the store.

· We found an over-whelming majority, almost 87%, of the customers responded favorably to our new system.

· We, as well as the pharmacist, feel this is a very good practice to employ to help increase customer service satisfaction and keep the customers happy.

· We feel this increased customer satisfaction will increase Eckerd’s customer base and profitability.

· The pharmacist is going to report the results to his District Pharmacy Manager, and we are hopeful that there will soon be a similar system used in Eckerd stores nationwide.