Friday, 19 August 2011

Service attributes of Apollo Hospitals

Product: The hospitals offer health care services and medical treatment high in credence attributes as product. India has demand for premium service in this sector.

Place: The health care is being provided by Private nursing homes, Missionary hospitals and Government hospitals, with Apollo Hospital being the first ``for-profit`` private hospital.

Promotion: The promotion for healthcare service is by Word-of-mouth. The public relations management becomes important. The referring doctors are convinced about the quality and ability of service being offered at the hospital. Apollo launches yearly magazines for spreading information about latest practices and research in the healthcare segment. They also call doctors for conferences to discuss the latest innovations in the field. Efforts are put to increase awareness in women to improve overall health of families. 

Price: Apollo is targeting the middle and premium levels. The price charged is slightly higher than competitors. Apollo also promotes special pricing for specific ailments to improve customer base.

People: Apollo recognises employees and medical staff as Stars for good performance of the hospital. Being a service, the internal marketing is important to manage the motivation of employees for serving the customers. Dr. Reddy made sure that the employees understood the larger ambition of the business. The human resource managers ensured task identity and significance of each step of work is understood by employees. 

Process: The work process has to be defined for consistent and organised approach for repeated service. The various stakeholders of Apollo:

Consulting doctors

 The goals of consulting doctors and management are different, but by defining the process, a symbiotic working relation can be ensured.

Physical evidence: The equipments and facilities being offered are kept state of the art and always in operating conditions to ensure proper physical evidence of services to be delivered. The customer assigns tangibility and credence to service offered and it helps for repeat service demand and positive word of mouth promotion.

The distinct characteristics of service offered:

Intangibility: The service being offered by doctors is intangible as the patients do not end up with the ownership of anything.

Inseparability: The health care service is inseparable. Doctors and patients have to be present for diagnosis and treatment.

Variability: The service varies with change in context (who, where, to-whom) of service being offered. To ensure consistency and reduce risk perception, following steps are taken:
Ø  Proper training was provided to new recruits
Ø  Training for skill & ability improvement
Ø  Standardising service performance process throughout the organisation
Ø  Monitor patients feedback to deliver best levels of service

Perishability: The service cannot be inventoried and has to be delivered promptly. The fluctuation in demand is handled by:
Ø  Differential pricing to promote non peak demand
Ø  Complementary services:  Free overnight stay during slow festival season
Ø  Peak time efficiency: To focus on essential tasks during busy periods


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