The five factors that differentiate a product from a service
Pick one below and only one that you think is the most important when considering differentiation in healthcare marketing. Please give rationale for your choice.
Intangibility - Services differ from products in that a service is not concrete. A service cannot be felt, touched, or heard before the service is experienced.
Inconsistency - A product can be produced in a consistent manner. Services are delivered by people and are vulnerable to variations of presentation by individuals. "People-delivered services have inherent variability" (Berkowitz, 2006, p. 214). Training and education assist in reducing inconsistency amongst individual caregivers.
Inseparability - Customer service and service delivery people are closely linked. "Services cannot be separated from the individuals who deliver them" (Berkowitz, 2006, p. 214). Walking a lost patient to a destination within a large large healthcare system.
Inventory - Staff are considered part of the inventory in healthcare. Inventory requires an investment of time and money. Managers can adjust their staffing inventory to match the peak needs of the target audience. For example, most working adults prefer prenatal classes in the evening and weekends. HCO's should adjust their staffing for these classes to meet the needs and wants of the consumer.
Interaction - Customer service is an integral part to the marketing process. When consumers believe they have been treated well, they will return to the service for repeat care. Healthcare organizations measure the level of satisfaction a patient has through patient satisfaction surveys.
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