Eckerd Drug, Albany, Georgia.
LINK TO EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
LINK TO BACKGROUND PAPER
· 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.
· 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.
· 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.