Comparing hospital staff and patient perceptions of customer service: A pilot study utilizing survey and focus group data

Programs in Health Service Administration, College of Health and Public Affairs, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA.
Health Services Management Research 03/2006; 19(1):52-66. DOI: 10.1258/095148406775322052
Source: PubMed


The measurement of patient satisfaction is crucial to enhancing customer service and competitive advantage in the health-care industry. While there are numerous approaches to such measurement, this paper provides a case study which compares and contrasts patient and staff perceptions of customer service using both survey and focus group data. Results indicate that there is a high degree of correlation between staff and patient perceptions of customer service based on both survey and focus group data. However, the staff and patient subgroups also provided complementary information regarding patient perceptions of their service experience. Staff members tended to have more negative perceptions of service attributes than did the patients themselves. The focus group results provide complementary information to survey results in terms of greater detail and more managerially relevant information. While these results are derived from a pilot study, they suggest that diversification of data sources beyond patient surveys may enhance the utility of customer service information. If further research can affirm these findings, they create exciting possibilities for gathering valid, reliable and cost-effective customer service information.

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    • "Similarly, Mattila and Enz (2002) revealed a large gap between customer and employee perceptions regarding service quality expectations. In a health care context, Fottler et al. (2006) and Wisniewski and Wisniewski (2005) suggest the existence of a gap between the patients' and staff's perceptions of reliability attributes and actual service delivery. Further, physicians perceive patients' expectations to be lower than they really are (O'Connor et al., 1994; O' Connor et al., 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to uncover the desired qualities and behaviours that patients believe general practitioners (GPs) should have in medical (service recovery) encounters. In particular, the authors try to reveal the qualities and behaviours of GPs that patients value, to understand the underlying benefits that they look for during personal (service recovery) encounters, and to graphically illustrate the findings in a so-called hierarchical value map. This will prove to be important in order to understand patients' needs and desires correctly. Design/methodology/approach – An exploratory research study using the qualitative laddering interviewing technique was regarded as appropriate as it allows researchers to gain a deeper insight into an underdeveloped research subject. In total, in-depth laddering interviews with 38 respondents were conducted. Findings – In case of a service recovery encounter, patients believe that GPs need to show competence, friendliness and empathy in order to restore trust in them. GPs should also listen actively and do the appropriate checks in order to find the root cause of the problem. “Health” was the main value sought by patients. This value is considered by patients to be the gateway to moving on with their everyday lives and search the attainment of other values such as well-being, belongingness, accomplishment, and self-realization. Moreover, respondents would like to gain knowledge about their disease in order to prevent them in the future and to have some sense of control over the decision of the treatment. Patients also want a more active role in the medical (service recovery) encounter, which calls for a more shared approach by GPs in the interaction with their patients. Originality/value – This paper gives a valuable first insight into the desired qualities and behaviours of GPs during medical (service recovery) encounters. The study results especially indicate that complaining patients are people first and patients second, where the primary importance is the satisfaction of basic social needs. The fact that this study has revealed the highest number of values in published laddering studies so far shows how crucial these medical (service recovery) encounters in general and GP qualities and behaviours in particular are for patients. Another strong contribution of this paper is the finding that all the identified concepts from the laddering interviews that are shown in the hierarchical value maps must not been seen in strict isolation, as in previous research, but have to be understood as a network of interrelated concepts.
    Journal of Service Management 08/2011; 22(4):491-521. DOI:10.1108/09564231111155097 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of a university's faculty as to how the strategies, staffing policies, and systems procedures were aligned with the mission statement. Differences in perceptions were examined by college affiliation, rank, primary teaching assignment and gender. Data were analyzed to determine if there were correlations between faculty members' perceptions of alignment of the university's mission statement with administration's actions, policies, and procedures and their level of organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and overall satisfaction with their job and the organization The population for this study was comprised initially of 1363 teaching faculty members of the University of Central with more than one year of service and reduced to 1285 who were determined to meet the criteria for inclusion. The 67-item survey instrument used in this study was developed and copyrighted by Dr. Robert C. Ford (Ford et al, 2006), and was administered during January and February 2006 A total of 297 usable responses (23.1%) were returned. An analysis of all responses indicated that there was a wide disparity in perceptions and that respondents did not believe that there was a strong alignment of mission with administrative practices, policies, and procedures. This confirmed an earlier finding as to the importance of perception (Dickson, Ford, & Upchurch, 2006, Ford et al., 2006). Significant differences in faculty perceptions by college affiliation, university rank, and primary teaching assignment were identified. Significant differences based on gender were minimal. The correlations of items representing level of organizational commitment were highly correlated. Items representing job satisfaction and overall satisfaction with their job and the organization were moderately intercorrelated, and the interrelationship was not strong.
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated service excellence and hospitality in a healthcare setting. It is unique from other hospitality research in that it considers hospitality and service excellence as separate concepts, applicable across industries. Part of the premise of this study explores how hospitality extends past service excellence to create a comfortable and welcoming environment to combat patient anxiety and stress. Furthermore, this is one of the first qualitative studies on the importance of service excellence and hospitality in the healthcare industry. This case study measured top management's perceptions of service excellence and hospitality within one community-based hospital located in Orlando, Florida. The researcher conducted one-hour interviews with twelve leading managers to gain their opinions of service excellence and hospitality within their organization. Consistent with a thorough review of literature, three conclusions were revealed: 1) there is a strong, but mixed, top management commitment to service excellence and hospitality throughout organization; 2) the terms "service excellence" and "hospitality", when used, were discussed interchangeably as if the two theories were equivalent; and 3) External barriers to the patient experience that were identified included improvement of technology, increased consumerism, quality regulations, and workforce deficits. Internal barriers to the patient experience include communication and inconsistency. The research provided implications to healthcare organizations that are looking to implement practices of hospitality and service management to improve service delivery. Additionally, the study of hospitality outside the industry offers ideas of improvement for hospitality management and organizational researchers. It can also be used as a foundation to formulate additional studies in the area of service excellence and hospitality within the healthcare field, as this research is limited to only top management's views.
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