“Taking Good Care of You” the Healthcare Service as Part of the High Involvement Service Sector

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“Taking good care of you”

The healthcare service as part of the high involvement service sector

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Student: Orla Caffrey

Dublin City University (D.C.U.)
Module Lecturer: Cathy McGouran
Module: Services Marketing
Word Count: 2681 (excluding references and appendices)

ContentsPage

Introduction.........................................................................................................2

Consumer perceptions and expectations.............................................................3

The role of customer loyalty in healthcare services............................................4

How to encourage customer commitment and loyalty........................................5

Service Evaluation ..............................................................................................6

Building customer relationships and their role in encouraging loyalty...............8

Conclusion............................................................................................................9

1. Introduction

“Medical practitioners are service workers who occupy the operative core. They perform in strong professional and bureaucratic environments, where the power is concentrated in the hands of specialists.” ((Mintzberg, 1983) in Lammergaard & Muhr, 2009 p.36)

In the past the role of a medical physician has been centred on the inviolability of the patient-doctor relationship to the extent that it has been described as a “bond” (Lammergaard & Muhr, 2009 p.36).

The idea of the customer - (patient) service provider (doctor) bond is central to understanding and providing a service which will not only be adequate but may even surpass consumer expectations. Customers in the high-involvement medical or healthcare service are reliant on the service provider and the core of the relationship must be based on commitment and confidence. High- involvement services are unique as it is imperative to execute a very high-level of performance if the provider is to satisfy the customer, gain their confidence and ultimately foster and encourage loyalty to the service provider.

Evaluating high involvement services like that of healthcare is difficult as by nature the service is dependent on interpersonal interaction between both the provider and the consumer. Service provision in the health services sector is reliant on a highly qualified and skilled service provider.

There is a need to examine high involvement services, such as the healthcare industry in a different manner to other high involvement services e.g. the hotel industry (Marriott Hotels) or the airline industry (Ryanair). Healthcare services cannot be examined in a similar way to that of hotels as they encompass a more complex relationship, involving deep emotional and physical needs and wants.

Marc Swerdlick (2009 p.8) offers four characteristics which can aid in successful marketing in the services sector: comfort, credibility, clarity and confidence. Each of these characteristics could be the key to providing a successful service experience in the health care sector as each characteristic strives towards achieving customer satisfaction and therefore encouraging customer loyalty.

A number of key issues arise when analysing the high involvement medical service setting and it is important to study their impact on encouraging confidence and loyalty. Key issues which will be discussed are

• Consumer perceptions and expectations
• Customer loyalty
• Service Evaluation
• Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

2. Consumer perceptions and expectations

Total service quality consists of two variables: expected service (the service anticipated by the consumer) and perceived service (the level of service the customer feels he or she has in fact received). ((Hansen 1972, Bettman, 1972, Swan and...
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