Diversity is the name of the game in today’s tough economic times. It could often form the solution to the need to stay ahead of the curve in whatever industry you specialize in. Walgreens is a testament to that theory, although theirs was more of an expansion into a relating field than a total diversification into an unfamiliar arena. Known for its drugstores, Walgreens decided a few years ago to try their hand at medical alarm systems. This may sound like a different field, apart from the ‘medical’ distinction, but it all falls into the same area of care.
So, for a company that’s very young, compared to its main competitors (four years old), many of whom have been around for well over thirty years in the medical alarm system industry, Walgreens has quickly established their medical alert system as one of the leading brands on the market. This of course is no small feat when you consider what’s involved – the fact that there’s a fair degree of trust that needs to develop between the company and client since you (the company) are being granted stewardship over many people’s loved ones. The fact that they’ve put together a highly competitive package that compares well to experienced and market leading brands is a testament to Walgreens commitment to the medical alarm systems field.
Of course Walgreens Ready Response does not manufacture their own products but merely act as middle men in that regard (and this is perhaps where one should place them in the ‘pack’ of medical alarm system providers – the middle), thus their services will always fall short in some areas, though they still offer a good package at an affordable price.
Installing the Walgreens Ready Response console is simple and easy, needing only a plug-in of the power and phone jack and a simple press of the help/panic button to register with the monitoring facility that everything is installed. Unfortunately there is an activation fee and you’ll most likely be paying for delivery of the equipment as well. On the plus side though there is no cancellation fee and you can cancel the service at any time. Another great deal offered by Walgreens Ready Response is that there are no long term contract obligations.
This the one area which Walgreens doesn’t have much sway in terms of what they can control by way of product features. That being said, the Walgreens Ready Response console does offer a great deal, falling somewhere in the middle ground of capabilities as compared to its competitors. The top attributes of the system include the illuminated pendant button, three help button options (pendant/necklace, wristband and belt clip), a lifetime warranty and waterproof panic buttons. The list of course goes on and includes all the features you’d come to expect of a top medical alarm system. The one feature it doesn’t have is the capability to answer phone calls.
The Walgreen Ready Response unit does fall behind somewhat in the console-pendant transmitter range, which lies at two hundred and fifty feet, that’s less than half the industry average of five hundred and ten feet. Needless to say that this is an area that may be judged by the individual customer and their needs; it’s a simple case of ascertaining how far or what range will be applicable to your loved one who may regard 250 feet as plenty of roaming space.
There are three primary areas which the Walgreens Ready Response system has focussed on; those being the check in service – to ensure that everything is in working order, the hallway or (preferably) bathroom mounted panic button (which statistics reveal is the most common place where elderly people experience a fall) and then finally the additional user button. From the outset one can see that these are pretty much the accepted industry standard for additional features.
Firmly establishing its place in the middle of the pack is the fact that it comes without many features like a medication dispenser, voice extenders, a lock box (providing a spare key for emergency services) and the admittedly very rare fall detection capability.
Since Walgreens outsources their products and some services there is only so much that they can control, thus much of their emphasis is placed on service.
As mentioned, this is an area in which Walgreens pays close attention. Since they are relatively young in the market, it’s great to see their commitment in that they provide a host of services for their customers like twenty four hour monitoring services as well as technical support. They are also easy to contact with several avenues of communication like email and a toll free number for any assistance. The advantage of being backed by a well-known and trusted pharmaceutical store chain plays on the ‘trust’ factor of customers who are more likely to go with a name they know about. It’s greatly due to this that they’ve established themselves in the industry, placing well into the top ten brands of medical alarm systems, after just four years in the service.
They also provide a free bathroom mounted panic button upon every system purchase; this is one of a few deals they offer their clients. Since they are the proverbial middlemen of their system (they also outsource some services, mainly lending their name to the brand), if one were to judge them purely on Walgreens services, then they clearly make for a notable option at an affordable price.
What are the Pros and Cons of Walgreens Ready Response?
- There is a multilingual offering in their services of monitoring attendants
- there are no long term contracts or obligations
- Walgreens Ready Response also offers a number of specials, including a free bathroom mounted panic button upon your purchase of their system
- For safety and working integrity, the Walgreens console carries out a monthly automated test ensuring a stable link between it, and the central monitoring station
- Walgreens partnership with AMAC (American Medical Alert Corporation) ensures that an advanced and enhanced monitoring system is always at your disposal. AMAC also has two monitoring facilities which means that should anything happen to the one (due to disaster, natural or electronic) your safety will never be in question. A unique feature of theirs is their archive – every call is logged and recorded to assist their database and to use in their personnel training
- The simple and easy installation
- They’ve recently added a special offer which reduces their usual monthly premiums by almost twenty percent
- A pendant battery life of four years which will send a signal to the monitoring facility when it gets low
- Walgreens’ general openness to customers in providing 24 hour toll free assistance and technical support
- Twenty four hour back-up battery life in the event of a power outage
- They are a veritable reseller of their system
- There are a couple of additional fees to paid, for activation and delivery, and there will be a slight waiting period before you receive the product (7-10 days)
- A below average console to pendant range of two hundred and fifty feet
- Walgreens offers no online account access
- The pendant comes minus the phone answering capability
- Walgreens Ready Response has a very scant array of additional features and does without voice extenders, a lock box and a medication dispenser or reminders. Thus the Walgreens unit offers the bare necessities in additional services
- Their monitoring facility does not possess a five diamond certification from the CSAA
- Walgreens does not offer any advanced payment discounts
Most of the Walgreens Ready Response reviews you find will state that they’re somewhere in the middle of the medical alarm brand ‘pack’, offering a decent compromise on all features and services. The fact is that if the product they have were to have been a little better and offered a few more features or improved on a few others like the transmitter range, their entire package would improve dramatically.
Without improving several aspects of their package, like the week long waiting period for their product delivery and the subsequent additional fees, Walgreens Ready Response will always find themselves in the middle. On the plus side though, being in the middle of a very competitive market – in which every company is required to cover many crucial areas to satisfy a variety of features and services (where getting the mix and balance right is very difficult), and compromising on any one aspect can diminish your brand drastically – Walgreens has accomplished much in a small space of time.
They are one of the youngest brands on the market, thus one can expect their service to improve as they gain experience, but until they do, they still offer a very decent package that bears consideration (particularly since they provide a complimentary bathroom help button) .