Effective Marketing of Specialist Hospital Services

Effective Marketing of Specialist Hospital Services

For centuries ago, hospitals were not given much attention. The people were suspicious, many at times. Resort to native doctors, as events that unfolds could no longer go down well with the people. Hence research for solutions to various sicknesses was on the increase and drugs were invented. More personnel were trained to know the trend of those diseases and serve the patients accordingly (The mouth piece, 2006:9).

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Since Kotler (1997) as quitted in Ozo (2002:1) pointed out the emphasis in current marketing thinking which include:

  • A growing emphasis on quality, value and customer satisfaction.
  • A growing emphasis on relationship building and customer retention.
  • A growing emphasis on direct and online marketing.
  • A growing emphasis on ethical marketing behaviour.

It then became necessary for some of the trained personnel to add a lot of strategies and programmes to their services to make theirs unique. The service rendered refined the image of the establishment and the objective of the hospital because glaringly practical.

Nevertheless, there are some challenges facing service firms not excluding hospitals. Hence the firms have found marketing as appropriate means for meeting these challenges. The challenges may include any of the following;

  1. Service product differentiation
  2. Service quality maintenance
  • Productivity enhancement
  1. Internal marketing.

Service marketers have more problems differentiating their offerings from those of competitors, since there is less Latitude for creative product design. Innovations are quickly copied and price, Competition is typically strong. There is need for a service firm to try and develop an effective service product positioning. This would involve determining what attribute of the service are important to specific market segments and how those segment perceive the firm and other Competitors as performing against these attributes.

Quality control on the other hand, is a serious problem for service firms, as has been noted, the expression suggests that:

  1. Service quality is more difficult for consumers to evaluate than good quality.
  2. Service quality perceptions result from a comparison of consumer expectations with actual service performance; and
  3. Quality evaluations are not made solely on the outcome of a service; They also involve evaluations of the process of service delivery.

Productivity is generally low in service industries because their operations are typically labour intensive, with high and rising labour cost.

In addition, it is difficult to automate (i.e. mechanize) in service businesses, and many service establishments are small-size operations that may not afford the most efficient equipment/facilities. Efforts should be made to substitute labour, with machines whenever feasible, while some tasks could be shifted to customers themselves, thus freeing the regular staff to make more productive use of their time.

However, internal marketing is directed at employees who are in contact with customers in order to motivate them to adhere to the established quality standards. The goal is to have them all imbibe the philosophy of the marketing concept or customer orientation to ensure consistent delivery of quality service to the customers (Nwokoye, 2000:286-287). Parklane Specialist Hospital is sited in Enugu town close to polo field of G.R.A. Parklane Specialist Hospital is owned by Enugu State Government. And it has total staff strength of about 275 personnel. However, this study will concentrate critically on-the staff that could give the research writer the data/information required.

  • STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The major problem that compelled the researcher to research on this topic is as a result of the negative impression patients and the majority of the public have about hospitals. The impression has negatively impacted on the industry that patients mostly go home unsatisfied as a result of the quality of service rendered by the hospitals, even when their sickness/diseases are cured.

Based on this major problem, other subsidiary problems emerge, and they include the following:

  1. Lack of adequate attention to patients as a result of untimely payment of initial deposits which frequently leads to loss of lives and/or worsening of sickness or diseases.
  2. Poor services.
  3. There is the increasing tendency to exploit patients by the hospitals management and this has made some low income earners to seek solace at the semi-skilled chemist owners who sometimes give wrong prescriptions to patients.
    • OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

As a result of the problems so identified by the researcher, it becomes necessary through this research process to know whether the application of marketing mix and strategies in hospitals are capable alleviating, if not eradicating the negative impression most patients have about hospitals. In line with this major objective, other objectives include:

  1. To know whether strict policy on pricing contributes to the losses of lives in hospitals and the increasing of patronages of unskilled and semi-skilled chemist owners.
  2. To know whether the adoption of informative advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, public relations, adequate mobility and service quality maintenance in hospitals would be capable of eradicating the negative impression by patients.
  3. To offer useful recommendations where necessary.
    • FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESES

For the purpose of this study, the following hypotheses will/be listed:

Hypothesis One

Ho: The patronages of unqualified chemist operators depend on strict pricing policy of Parklane Specialist Hospital.

Hi: The patronages of unqualified chemist operators does not depend on strict policy pricing of parklane Specialist Hospital.

Hypothesis Two

Ho: The eradication of negative impression patients have on hospitals does not depend on application of marketing mix by parklane Specialist Hospital.

H: The eradication of the negative impression patients have on hospitals depends on the application of marketing mix parklane Specialist Hospital.

  • SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study will be of immense help to parklane Specialist hospital Enugu. This is because it is aimed at ascertaining the effective hospital service outfit. How patients rates the services. This is necessary in order to ensure that patients (customers) continue patronizing the hospital.

Also, the study will be of great importance to the government in areas of policies and decisions and other interest groups, especially, Students of marketing in various higher institution of learning in their further research studies.

Finally, this study may be found useful to any other person since it will explore situations to the practical aspect of marketing service rendered by hospital to their target customers.

  • SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study concentrates in effective marketing of Hospital Services, with special reference to parklane Specialist Hospital Enugu. In order to achieve the desired objective of this study, based on the scope, the study will precisely concentrate on the marketing mix variables.

  • LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The ability of this researcher to actualize useful goals were constrained by inadequate finance, insufficient time and availability of relevant materials. Apart from these, the researcher had difficulties in getting useful information from the respondents since most of them would want to keep some issues confidential.

—This article is not complete———–This article is not complete————
This article was extracted from a Project Research Work/Material Topic

“EFFECTIVE MARKETING OF SPECIALIST HOSPITAL SERVICES, IN ENUGU METROPOLIS:

A CASE OF PARKLANE SPECIALIST HOSPITAL-ENUGU..”

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