1) There are four promotion strategies for the intangible services. The first one is stressing tangible cues. A tangible cue is a concrete symbol of the service offering. The facilities that customers visit or from which services are delivered, are a critical tangible part of the total service offering. Minute Clinic healthcare centers are open seven days a week with later hours than traditional doctors have. They don’t require appointments and can provide patients with a diagnosis and prescription within 15-45 minutes; in this way the long waits are avoided. They are located in convenient retail settings. The second promotion strategy is the use of personal information sources. A personal information source is someone consumers are familiar with or someone they admire or can relate to personally. Minute Clinic is an innovator in the “retailization of healthcare”.
The company is expanding very quickly as there’s a need for cheaper and more accessible healthcare. In addition more than 80% of the patients are satisfied with the convenience of the retail clinic, and with the quality and the cost of services. The third promotion strategy is the creation of a strong organizational image. One way to implement it is to manage the evidence, including the physical environment of the service facility, the appearance of the service employees, and the tangible items associated with a service. MinuteClinic is staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who specialize in family healthcare.
It offers cheap and accessible healthcare. It provides basic medical services for common ailments, offers vaccines, physicals and electronic records. The last promotion strategy is the engagement in post purchase communication. It refers to the follow-up activities that a service might engage in after a customer transaction. For example in 2006 the Harris Interactive poll was held and in the end the response to the clinics has been positive.
2) Customized services are more flexible, respond to individual customers’ needs and usually command a higher price. The standardized services are more efficient and cost less. The mass customization instead uses technology to deliver customized services on a mass basis, which results in giving each customer whatever she or he asks for. MinuteClinic‘s services are standardized as they are efficient and cost less. Nevertheless they do incorporate elements of mass customization as they use the electronic medical records system for the needs of each single patient and on a mass basis.
3) Customers evaluate service quality by five components: reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy and tangibles. MinuteClinic demonstrated reliability and responsiveness during the flu outbreak in Minnesota by implementing a hub-and-spoke approach for better inventory control, offering the shots in only eight MinuteClinic locations. They hired supplemental nursing staff and administered up to 300 shots a day each. MinuteClinic performed the service dependably, accurately, consistently and promptly. During the flu outbreak the lines became very long so MinuteClinic created children’s areas, added televisions, videos and coloring books to keep kids entertained and make the wait easier for families. This was the technique MinuteClinic used to impress customers with tangible physical evidence that the clinics care about them.
4) Place (Distribution) strategies for service organizations must focus on such issues as convenience, number of outlets, direct versus indirect distribution, location and scheduling. Thanks to this strategy the company was successful among patients and expanded quickly. With its marketing mix MinuteClinic focuses on place, pricing and distribution. The fact that the clinic is located in convenient retail settings adds to its growing appeal. As the prices are affordable, the distribution is direct and fast the company expands very quickly.
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