Family always has been at the heart of Kopp Drug’s success throughout its 85-year history, and all signs point to that remaining the case for another 85 years. According to CFO Steven DeCriscio, whether it is retaining employees for the long haul or reacting to customers’ problems as if they were blood relatives themselves, the tight-knit atmosphere keeps Kopp Drug at the forefront of consumers’ minds throughout central Pennsylvania.
“From the top down, we are very service-oriented,” DeCriscio explains.
“We will go out of our way to do whatever it takes to help create good customer service.”
Founded in 1925, Kopp Drug is a full-service pharmacy and gift store with 10 locations throughout central Pennsylvania. Joseph Cohn founded the pharmacy in 1925 and his son, Morley A. Cohn, serves as the current owner and president of the company.
Along with its 10 storefront locations, the company also has an office and warehouse in Altoona, Pa., that occupies more than 11,700 square feet.
DeCriscio says Kopp Drug’s greatest asset, by far, is its loyal and attentive workforce, which provides unparalleled customer service larger competitors can’t deliver. He attributes this sense of pride in service to the family atmosphere that is pervasive throughout the organization, starting with the Cohn family, which is in the second and third generation of family ownership of the company.
“They treat every customer like they’re a member of our family, and that comes from treating every employee like they’re a member of our family,” he says. “We look at all of our employees as one large extended family, most of which have been with us for a number of years.”
For example, Kopp Drug associates recently went the extra mile to ensure a customer had a prescription as soon as they needed it despite various hurdles in the process. A customer recently asked a doctor for a prescription, but the doctor initially called in the prescription to the wrong pharmacy. The patient contacted the doctor to send the prescription to the correct pharmacy, but the doctor did not follow up on this request. This prompted the customer to call a local Kopp Drug to explain the situation to a technician. The technician reached out to the doctor directly, who then gave the prescription to the pharmacy for the customer.
It is this level of customer service that, DeCriscio says, large pharmacies, grocery stores, mail-order houses and big-box retailers cannot approach.
“It still comes down to the fact that most of the people aren’t going to get the same customer service from these places that they get from us,” he adds.
What the competition can deliver oftentimes are value-added periphery services like gas programs, free antibiotics and loyalty rewards. Kopp Drug is looking into launching similar programs, starting with a gas initiative that would reward customer loyalty.
DeCriscio says Kopp Drug has looked into launching this program for about a year. If partnerships with local suppliers are shored up this year, he says the program could be launched as early as fall 2012.
Kopp Drug also plans to reinvent the front end of its locations by moving away from the “dust-able” gifts it currently stocks and into consumer goods to serve as more of a “general store,” as DeCriscio describes it. The company already has a $1 program within its locations and has added grocery items to its offerings, as well. But Kopp Drug intends to expand its inventory to better compete with supermarket chains in the region.
The company already has a basic loyalty program in place that has undergone many changes throughout Kopp Drug’s history. Currently, one initiative allows customers to opt for the generic version of many of the drugs available at Kopp for $11.99 for a 90-day supply. Another loyalty initiative offers large discounts on Kopp’s house brand of over-the-counter medications. Also, Kopp Drug runs a loyalty card program that gives customers 20 percent off its gift selections.
Kopp Drug also offers compounding services, which allows customers to have their medication compounded to their desire. According to Kopp Drug, compounding involves taking various medicine components and bringing them together in a form best suited to treat a particular patient or condition prescribed by a physician.
“Most patients can benefit from off-the-shelf medications,” the company states. “However, others would be best treated if medication could be delivered in a more customized form.”
With all the new initiatives and a commitment to remain a family owned and operated operation, DeCriscio says the end-goal is to keep Kopp Drug in business for at least another 85 years. No matter what its loyalty programs are and no matter how fierce the competition becomes, DeCriscio believes the only way that will happen is by ensuring customers and employees alike remain a part of the family.
“Our goal is to provide outstanding customer service to all of our loyal customers and to continue providing a great work environment for our employees,” DeCriscio says.
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