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Ms-65 December, 2009 Marketing of Services

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December, 2009

Ms-65 : Marketing of Services


1. (a) What is so distinctive about services marketing that it requires a special approach and body of knowledge ?

(b) "Growth in services is at the expense of manufacturing sector of the economy." Do you agree with the statement ? Justify  your answer.

2(a) Explain why services tend to be more difficult for customers to evaluate than goods.

(b) Explain the role of non-monetary costs in pricing of services by taking the example of

a hospital or a tour operator.

3. (a) What gaps can occur in service quality, and what steps can service marketers take to prevent them ?

(b) Identify and explain the product support services which a computer manufacturer

can offer for gaining competitive advantage.

4. Write short notes on any three of the following :

(a) Yield management.

(b) Cycle of success and cycle of failure.

(c) Service guarantees.

(e) Channels of distribution for banks.

(f) Physical evidence.


5. Study the following case and answer the questions given at the end.

Mrs. F arrives 15 minutes early for a 1:30 PM appointment with her Austin, Texas, ophthalmologist, Dr. X. The waiting room is empty and all the prior names on the sign-in-sheet are crossed out. The receptionist looks up but does not acknowledge her presence. Mrs. F, unaware  of the drama about to unfold, happily anticipates that she may not have to wait long beyond her scheduled time and settles into a chair to read the book she has brought with her. Large windows completely surround three sides of the waiting room. The receptionist sits behind a large opening in the remaining wall. Attractive artwork decorates the available wall space, and trailing plants rest on a shelf above the receptionist's opening. It is an appealing, comfortable waiting MOM. At 1:25 PM, another patient, Jack arrives. Mrs. F knows his name must be Jack, because the receptionist addresses him by first name and the two share some light-hearted pleasantries. Jack takes a seat and starts looking through a magazine. At 1:40 PM, a very agitated woman enters and approaches the receptionist. She explains that she MS-65 3 P.T.O. is very sorry she missed her 1 o'clock appointment and asks if it would be possible for Dr. X to see her anyway. The receptionist replies very coldly, "You're wrong. Your appointment was for 11." "But I have 1 o'clock written down !" responds the patient, whose agitation now has changed to distress. "Well, you're wrong" "Oh dear, is there any way I can be worked in ?" pleads the patient. "We'll see. Sit down." Mrs. F and her two "companions" wait until 1:50 PM, when staff person number 2 (SP2) opens the door between the waiting room and the hallway leading to the various treatment areas. She summons Jack, and they laugh together as she leads him to the back. Mrs. F thinks to herself, "I was here first, but maybe he just arrived late for an earlier appointment," then goes back to her book. Five minutes later, Ms. SP2 appears at the door and summons the distressed patient. At this point, Mrs. F walks to the back area (She's a long-time patient  and knows the territory), seeks out Ms. SP2 and says, " I wonder if I've been forgotten. I  was here before those two people who have just been taken in ahead of me." Ms. SP2 replies very brusquely, "Your file's been pulled. Go sit down." Once again occupying an empty waiting room, Mrs. F returns to her reading. At 2:15 PM (no patient has yet  emerged from a treatment area),. Ms. SP2 finally summons Mrs. F and takes her t oroom 1, where she uses two instruments to make some preliminary measurements of Mrs. F's eyes. This is standard procedure in Dr. X's practice. Also standard is measuring the patient's present eyeglass prescription on a third instrument in room 1. Mrs. F extends her eyeglasses to Ms. SP2, but Ms. SP2 brushes past her and says curtly, "This way." Mrs. F then is led to a seat in the "dilating area," although no drops have been put in her eyes to start dilation. The light in the dilating area is dimmed to protect dilating eyes, but Mrs. F is able to continue reading her book. No one else is seated in the dilating area. At 2:45 PM, Ms. SP2 reappears, says, "this way" (a woman of very few words, our Ms. SP2), and marches off to examining room 3. "Wait here," she commands, leaving Mrs. F to seat herself in the darkened room. Mrs. F can hear Dr. X and Jack laughing in the next examining room. At 2:55 PM, she hears the two men say good-bye and leave the room. Mrs. F expect Dr. X to enter her room shortly. At 3:15 PM, however, when he still has not appeared, she walks forward and interrupts Ms. SP2, the receptionist, the bookkeeper, and Ms. SP3, who are socializing. "Excuse me, but have  I been forgotten?" She asks. Ms. SP2 turns her head from her companions and replies, "No, he's in the line. Go sit down."

Mrs. F wonders what that means but returns to her assigned place. She is here, after all, for a particular visual problem, not just for a routine check-up. All good things, however, including Mrs. F's patience and endurance of abusive treatment, eventually end. At 4:00 PM, Mrs. F does some marching of her own-to the front desk, where she announces to the assembled Mss. SP1 through SP4 that she has been waiting since 1:30 PM, that she has been sitting in the back for 21/2 hours, and that not once during that time has one member of the staff come to let her know what the problem is, how much longer she can expect to wait, or, indeed, that she has not been forgotten. She adds that she will wait no longer, and she feels forced to seek the services of a physician who chooses to deliver health care. There are several patients seated in the waiting room at the time. There is an epilogue to this case. Mrs. F went directly home and wrote the following letter to Dr. X informing him of the treatment she had (not) received at his office and stating that she and her family would seek care elsewhere.

January 5, 2005,

Dear Dr.

It is with very real regret that I am transferring our eye care to another physician, and I want you to know the reason for my decision. It is 4:22 PM, and I have just returned home from a 1:30 PM appointment with (out) you. The appointment was made because I had received an adverse report from Seton Hospital's recent home vision test. I was kept waiting in the dilation area and in examining room 3 for more than two-and-one-half hours, during which time not one single member of your staff gave me any explanation for the delay or assured me I had not been forgotten. When I finally asked if I were forgotten , I was treated with a very bad attitude  ("how dare I even ask") and still was given no reason for the delay or any estimate of how much longer I would have to wait. Consequently,  I left without seeing you. As I stated above,  I make this change with very real regret, because I value your expertise and the treatment you personally have given the four of us during these past many years. But I will not tolerate the callous treatment of your staff.

Questions :

(a) What features of a good waiting process are evident in Dr. X's practice ? List the shortcomings that you see.

(b) If Dr. X were concerned with keeping the F family as patients, how could he have

responded to Mrs. F's letter ? Write a letter on Dr. X's behalf to Mrs. F.

(c) How could Dr. X prevent such incidents in the future ?

(d) What are the benefits to an health care service organisation in retaining its customers ?

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