This paper investigates the issues of marketing research and customer loyalty enhancement in the form of analysis and recommendations provided to the given healthcare marketing cases. Section one describes the potential office setting and scheduling decision, as well as recruitment proposal for fresh specialists. Further in-depth steps in marketing research are pointed. Section two investigates the differences in customers’ satisfaction and customers’ loyalty, characterized customer loyalty assessment, importance of organizational branding in the healthcare field.
Marketing Research and Promotion of Customer Loyalty
It should be emphasized that group’s research firm has conducted just introductory marketing research in particular determined what population segments in the age context reside in the selected district. With the aim to choose an optimal office setting configuration that will suit the preferences and needs of the customers, additional marketing research is needed. First of all, the future healthcare entity has to possess information about demographics, ethnicity, race and gender characteristics. Secondly, the understanding of the average income level of the district’s residents will allow the Group to establish a pricing policy that will allow considering budget restraints of district’s residents and will provide the necessary level of profitability for the company. Thirdly, the existing competing healthcare providers should be examine for the range of services provided, the number of patients, the level of working load both in ambulatory service providing and the number of home visiting by physicians (Moschis & Friend, 2008).
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Taking into regard the obtained results of marketing segmentation and regarding the fact that the majority of the community’s representatives are busy N-Gen white-collar office workers, late working hours and possibility to make the time of visit as short as possible should be considered. Boomers cohort face retirement therefore they will certainly need to deal with the increased number of healthcare issues.
In the modern society, the stability is not always a path to success. Therefore, the possibility of hiring young primary care physicians is a right way for the future medical center to assure innovation inflow and challenging approaches to a business conducting and providing healthcare services. In the recruitment process, it is necessary to take into account the level of professional knowledge and experience of the candidates, their communication skills and level of emotional intelligence. With the aim to attract the best personnel, competitive and fair compensation package should be proposed. Moreover, based on the results of the previously conducted marketing research, the possible candidates will be aware of the working hours he/she will spend for office visits and home encounters.
It is crucial to guarantee the highest level of customers’ satisfaction by providing the exceptional high quality service. However, according to Keiningham, Aksoy, Buoye and Cooil (2011) “customers may be very satisfied with your brand and happily recommend it to others – but if they like your competitors just as much (or more), you’re losing sales”. Increase in customer loyalty must be a core task for the medical center physicians because loyal customer is that one who makes return visits. At the customer’s loyalty pyramid the customer loyalty is placed at the top with an awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, satisfaction and repeat visit or purchase before it.
Two main components such as customers’ retention and the number of customers repeated visits are the essential elements of the customers’ loyalty. The importance of enlarging the share of the loyal customers is in the following. First of all, satisfying a loyal customer who consumes the medical entity services is less expensive comparing to the costs of attracting the new clients. Moreover, the loyal patient and the physician have already known each other and could improve the service quality and diminish time spent for each visit. Loyal customers spend more whereas the number of medical entity visits increases. Loyal customer became the best marketers and advertisers for the medical Company because his/her recommendations increased the number of patients (Moliner, 2009).
With this regard, Naidu (2009) stated that “customer loyalty is both an attitude and a shopping behavior” (p.374). It means that the most challenging task for the medical entity is not only creating a positive image of the Company with the help of high physicians’ competency level, up-to-date tangibles such as diagnostic equipment, convenient access to the medical services, positive interpersonal component but also guarantee the patients favorable value for money that will be suitable for their wallets. The main purposes are repeated visits and positive word of mouth.
Customer’s satisfaction level and the existing gaps between the patients’ expectations and the real level and range of services provided will be measured by the above mentioned surveys where the information about frequency, money spent will be disclosed. The following metrics like Net Promoter Scores can be applied. However, Keiningham, Aksoy, Buoye and Cooil (2011) argued “traditional gauges of loyalty correlate poorly with what matters most: share of wallet”. Therefore, the representatives of this medical entity should put the emphasis on the marketing research of the level of customers’ loyalty with the focus on the profits that the certain customers bring to a Company.
Moliner (2009) pointed that customers’ loyalty assessment included gathering data on customers’ retention level, trends in the spending left at the cashier’s desk of the medical center and the positive recommendations that the customers give to their relatives and friends. Patient satisfaction surveys are worth the cost invested in their conducting whereas they can help the medical entity to identify the thoughts of their target customers, their expectations, satisfaction level and will reveal complaints and weaknesses. Dealing with these issues is the way to improve medical center’s operational practice. Ultimately, processing the obtained results and making the right conclusions will transfer them into the better care provision and increase in the level of not only satisfied, but the loyal customers. Survey questionnaires should be clear, consistent and brief. The main questions should cover three major operational directions such as quality of healthcare services provision, easy access to obtain such services and the interpersonal relationships between healthcare entity’s personnel and patients. Patient satisfaction survey is an efficient tool if the obtained results are transferred into the practical plane. Moreover, it is vital to understand why the patients shifted to other healthcare providers. The ignorance to deal with the received patients’ complaints, shift to the competitors due to more profitable value for money proposals can be the most crucial reasons.
In the modern circumstances, each company aiming to be successful and profitable in its industry should differentiate itself from the competitors by a clear positioning of the Company at the market with the demonstrating the core values that it possesses and proposes to the target audience. Snihurowych, Cornelius and Amelung (2009) argued that efficient organizational branding is a key path to success. Strong brand is a not popular target that each company try to reach. It is a combination of the high quality service delivering on the constant basis, customers’ relationships nurturing and delivering clear messages to the target audience that will keep the positive image of the healthcare entity in their minds. The milestones of successful organizational branding in the healthcare realm are patients’ emotional commitment, confidence in the reliability and professionalism, knowing that the patient’s interests are above all and that the company is seeking to establish a long term relationship with its patients based on trust and respect.