There are various studies that have been concluded in the last few decades on HR practices to keep customers in services such as hospitals. In the initial stages, the customer must be satisfied with the services being offered. Later, the customer will have to make a decision about whether they will continue to benefit from the same services. By the time the customer is willing to refer other service users to the same services; the organization can claim a break through in achieving customer loyalty. (Purs and Brandt, 1995; Timm, 2004).
Studies have also revealed that hospital organizations that achieve this level of customer service status are likely to break even on their balance sheet and sustain the trend as long as the loyalty momentum is upheld. As Reichheld (2001) observed, a mere 5% patient’s loyalty can give a positive ripple effect of up to 100% increase in return on investment. This particular survey also established that campaigns to get new customers can cost five fold more that strategies focusing on maintaining older customers.
(National Business Research Institute, 2009). These critical observations therefore underscore the value of strategic HR practices in both private and public hospitals in retaining customers to their services.
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The reality of the perceptions not withstanding, the customer will initially be very objective on the quality and quantity of service that they are about to be offered. Little things like speed, convenience, add-ons, communication, timing and staff personality are enough to give the customer a psychological rating of the service at hand (Timm, 2004). Focus on the HR strategy in the health sector to be implemented to keep the customers (Patients) rather than trying to get new ones
According a National Business Research Institute (NBRI) (2009) latest study, it is prudent for all business processed including hospital facilities to keep their customers. The secret is to have proper HR strategies that will keep the customer coming back for future services due to satisfaction. If services work well, the customers will normally move to the next level of loyalty pyramid whereby they refer their friend and relatives to the same services. (National Business Research Institute, 2009).
Most hospitals have in the past ended up in the fad of looking for new patients to buy their services without a genuine positive impact on their balance sheet at the end of the evaluation period. This is not to say that it is inconsequential to market for new customers (patients) but the main issues if the buying characteristics between the older and newer customers. Studies have shown that most organizations growth is solidly built on old customer loyalty than newer customer acquisitions.
Therefore the NBRI study recommends that organizations such as hospitals need to cling to an additional 5% of their customers in order to declare positive growth every evaluation period. (National Business Research Institute, 2009) The retention of the existing customers in health sector as an exercise running parallel to the acquisition of new ones has positive impact on the organizations costs reduction. Similarly, the older customers have developed faith and sense of belonging to the service at hand unlike the newer ones who care more about prices.
In the long rung the older customers are likely to double or triple their product or service orders. But this step will only work out if the organization is carrying out regular surveys to establish why there is a decline in customer retention. (National Business Research Institute, 2009) The implication is that the lines of communication must be opened to enable the customers and the organizations keep in touch on upcoming grievances. It is also important for organizations to respond to customer concerns satisfactorily as nearly 55% to over 70% are likely to repeat the purchase of the product or services.
Speedy feedback and action of the customer concern has shown that 9 in every 10 customers will surely come back for future service while networking for their colleagues to join and enjoy the same services. (National Business Research Institute, 2009) Methodology This study in the UAE deployed three major research methods to evaluate the impact of HR studies in keeping customer (patient) services. The target population for the study was 1770 spread across private and public hospitals in the UAE. The response rate of 1256 was 71% from the initial target group.
First, quantitative study was that used by administering a questionnaire to both patients and hospital service staff. The questionnaire is attached as Appendix II. The second research method that was deployed was qualitative survey. This method was used to gauge the effects of various services to patients and staff behaviour owing to their HR management techniques. Similarly, a questionnaire was used to gather data and opinion. However, there was a control study that was done to ensure that quality of service before and during intervention with HR strategies were comparative. The questionnaire is attached as appendix I.
The third survey strategy was applying service tracer techniques to certain services with the aim of seeing if there were incidences of repeat customers. This consisted of adult only patients who were on admission at both private and government hospitals with varying HR strategies. This third method was carefully done using convenient random sampling of patients across the medical services. The questionnaire is attached as Appendix III. The research on a survey made for a sample of patients with some statistical graphs showing the satisfied customers with the services of the hospital they have treatment at.