Overview Dr. Beckett is a dentist who seeks to differentiate her practice on the basis of quality. She constructs a new office and redesigns the practice to deliver high quality to her patients and to improve productivity through increased efficiency. Her knowledge and understanding for business is really limited as the classes she took in dental school only taught her of the technical side of dentistry but nothing about the business side. She had no formal training on how to run a business or understand customer needs.
In her twenty two of her professional practice marketing or advertising were not necessary as her clients were recommended by her existing patients. However, current times were getting difficult due to rising cost resulting from labour laws, malpractice insurance, investment in new equipment’s and staff training for new technologies were required. Thus, her overhead expenses skyrocketed to 70-80% of her revenues excluding of her wages and office rental. Furthermore, there was a movement in the U. S.
to reduce the health care costs as result the insurance companies, employers and patients were going through large health maintenance organizations (HMO’s), which sets price limits allowing doctors and dentists to only charge to a maximum amount for various procedures. Dr. Beckett, as a competitive dentist wanting to offer the highest level of dental care rather than being a low-cost provider, refused to become an HMO provider for the reimbursement rate 80-85% of what she normally charge for treatment.
Dr. Beckett’s patients had to pay fees that were not covered by their insurance policics to get the quality dentistry services. For most patients the differences in the quality were not substantial and they would switch to an HMO dentist offering lower costs. Dr. Beckett being the only dentist, there were seven other employees in the dental practice. Excluding her two employees who covered front office duties, she had three chair side assistants who helped the two hygienists and Dr. Beckett with treatment procedure.
Her goal and the staff ensured that no patient should be kept waiting longer than 20 minutes without being given the option to reschedule and her front office staff will relay advance messages to patients in case of delays. She currently has about 2000 patients and few more that visit her on special cases. Challenges Most of dentists being part of health maintenance organizations, they would be charging their customers less but on the other hand, Dr. Beckett charges higher fees than her competitors for her services.
She would have to justify to her patients that even though her clinic charges higher fees than competitors, the level of service quality are higher. She decided not to become an HMO provider as she felt that to provide high-quality care to her patients at these low rates were not possible. But now she can offer services that might provide better quality care but are expensive. With the changes like increased competition and reduction in healthcare cost in the market landscape; she needs to develop a formal promotional strategy to capture a wider customer base.
With the promotional strategy she would be attracting more patients and to fulfil every patient need, as her and her employees would have to be better at scheduling appointments in timely manner. Target Market Since Dr. Beckett’s treatment service is expensive comparing to her competitors, her services must be targeted for class A (upper class, elites) market who are wealthy and her patients can be either male or female of any age group.
Based on consumer behaviour, researches prove that wealthy people generally do not care about the price as long as they are satisfied with the product or service they are getting. Knowing the fact that Dr. Beckett wants to offer the highest level of dental care rather than being a low-cost provider, she could not avail to after low prices. Marketing Strategies Differentiation Strategy – Strengthen and pursue the new premium and upgraded service of Dr. Beckett’s Dental Office Advantages| Disadvantages| * Aligned with the company’s Vision & Mission statements and the personal values of Dr. Beckett’s.
She views the dental office as an extension of her personality so upholding quality and great service is second nature for her * The existing staff is already oriented with the new service design and quality principles * Provides high level of customer satisfaction based on the referrals from pervious customers * The high quality and consistent level of service will allow them to charge a relatively higher price without the customers feeling short changed * The company already invested big in its new bigger space and facility | * It
is difficult to sustain high quality all the time both in terms of operating cost and effort * It is a thankless service, customers usually do not show appreciation| Low Cost Strategy – Take out the extra complementary services There are several complementary services being offered. It is possible that some extra services like DVD player or hanging mobiles is non-value adding or not relevant to customers should be removed because it will not impact on the patronage.
Advantages| Disadvantages| * Less effort to sustain the high standards set * Less pressure for Dr. Beckett and the staff * It’s possible that taking out some of features like free coffee or ice tea will not lessen their service performance from the point of view of the customers * This may allow them to rapidly expand customer base (due to lower price) that will allow them to maximize the bigger space and facilities already purchased|
* The improvements they started will be put to waste * They will attract the lower income market segments will might erode the premium brand equity that it has initially built * Quality service is compromised so old customers who were used to the top notch quality might get turned off and transfer to other dental services| Advertising / Promotional Strategy – In her twenty two of her professional practice marketing or advertising were not necessary as her clients were recommended by her existing patients.
However, current times were getting difficult due to rising cost resulting from labour laws, malpractice insurance, investment in new equipment’s and staff training for new technologies were required. Advantages| Disadvantages| * Attract more patients * Bring in more revenue | * High patient to low staff ratio * Limited office space| Recommendation I would recommend Dr. Beckett and her employees to get feedback from their patients after their treatments and ask patients for suggestions.
Dr Beckett and her team can keep the suggestion in their mind for future. Noticing that very few patients express their appreciation to their work, she must unveil what her patients have to say about her services. Maybe they do really appreciate her service but are not expressive about it, or her services are not as good as she thinks they are. Let the patients evaluate the service, and ask them for their suggestions. Patient opinions would help as the service she is providing is for the patients and if they are not satisfied, it would help her understand patients need.
Their suggestion may give a realization of what is wrong or what is missing with their services. As her professional career for twenty two (22) years, Dr. Beckett realizes that retaining loyal patients is more valuable than generating new customers. Her services tie her patients to her high quality services and keep them delighted. The perception if the service provider of quality is different from the perception of the customer. So she must validate from them that her and her team are really providing them high quality rather than relying on what they believe their customer wants. Asking her patients about their perception would give them a good impression that they are very much valued as patients and that their suggestion matters.
I believe the suggestion would help her gain new patients because she got her patients mainly from her old practice and from positive word of mouth by current patients. Implementation The above recommendation would be implemented by a survey taken before and after patient’s treatment. Before treatment, the survey would be about their concerns and expectations. If they at Dr. Beckett’s dentistry for cleaning, braces, root cannel, wisdom tooth removal or pain due to wisdom tooth, filling etc. , and what do they expect after the treatment. In between the treatment they would be asked if they are comfortable and make sure that they are not in pain.
Give them feedbacks if any applicable like use straw while drinking soda or citrus juice, avoid cold or hot beverages till needed to be. After treatment the patients would be asked if they are satisfied with the service or treatment provided; ask them if they have any questions or concerns regarding treatment.
The first survey would be done with help of front office employee, either receptionist and/or secretary. They would give out the survey when patients walk and are ask to have a seat till hygienist or chair side assistants call them inside for treatment. Feedbacks given during treatment would be either by Dr. Reckett, hygienist, or chair side assistants. After treatment feedbacks would be asked by person who served patient during treatment.