August 5, 2010, 5:26 PM

Walgreen Co. adds 24-hour live chat with pharmacists

Consumers registered at Walgreens.com can use the service launched this week.

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Walgreen Co. added a service called Pharmacy Chat to Walgreens.com this week. It is a text chat service that puts pharmacy customers in touch with pharmacists available around the clock.

“Our customers value this as another way to have access to our pharmacy staff 24-7. It’s about being available when and how it is most convenient for our customers,” says a Walgreens spokesman. The service uses ATG's text chat platform.

Consumers registered at Walgreens.com can connect to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians through the service and ask general health and prescription-related questions as they would a pharmacist in store. If a visitor has had a prescription filled by Walgreens in store or online, the pharmacist has access to those records. If a question cannot be answered, the pharmacist refers the person to a nearby store. The program, which Walgreens tested for two months, went live on Monday. During testing, the average interaction lasted eight to 10 minutes, Walgreens says.

Walgreens is promoting the service aggressively online. It is featured in the central image on the Walgreens.com home page and on Walgreen’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Separately, the company today launched a new social responsibility page at Walgreens.com/responsibility. It puts together in one place information that appeared previously in different areas. The page features articles, personal stories, videos and interactive features explaining Walgreens’ efforts related to community involvement, diversity, supplier diversity and disability inclusion.

“It’s a whole refresh from what we had,” says a Walgreen spokeswoman. She says plans for the site include adding more Flash technology. It also will be the home area for the company’s push to reduce plastic bag use, which launches this month.

Walgreen Co. is No. 68 on Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide. Walgreens.com generated about $242 million in sales for the company last year, or approximately 0.4% of total sales.

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