There are numerous types of research. Selecting the best type of research, from such a diverse collection of sources, can be overwhelming. This paper is only going to examine two types of research, formal research and business proposals. There is a profusion of analyses over the relationship between these two categories of research. One of the most important factors in determining which type of research to choose is deciding the ultimate goal of your conclusion. Using formal research to aid my investigation, I will disprove the hypothesis that there is no relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Formal research is defined as conducting an experiment, under controlled conditions, in order to discover, demonstrate and/or test a hypothesis. A business proposal is defined as the systematic gathering of information to determine the best possible solution for a specific problem or situation that has arisen within an organization or company. Martin (2011) Both types of research can and do have applications in the business world. There are also disadvantages of both types of research. There are some similarities between business proposals and formal research.
Both formal research and a business proposal are used to define a specific problem. Both types of research gather data from already documented sources. This is accomplished by completing a literary review. These types of research compare their results to the previously established resources in that particular area. Jointly, research and proposals generate knowledge for an exact problem. Together these types of research are used to generate a hypothesis to be tested. In both cases, once testing is complete, a conclusion is reached. There are also several differences between formal research and a business proposal.
A business proposal uses a variety of forms and a research project only uses the APA format. A business proposal uses data from previous situations that have arisen in that particular company or a competitor. A research project gathers data from already documented sources. A business proposal is normally defined as a decision making matter. A business project is defined as a specific concern that will contribute to the knowledge base. The goal of a business proposal is to find the optimal solution to reach a conclusion so a plan of action can be implemented.
Theoretical framework is not normally used in business proposals but is always used in formal research. Theoretical research does not translate well into reality. The goal of a business proposal is to find the optimal solution to reach a conclusion so a plan of action can be implemented. A research project conducts an experiment that can be replicated, with the goal of adding to the scholarly sources. Martin (2011) In recent times, the trend has been that there is now a sever disconnection between educators and managers. Educators are trained in general knowledge.
Managers are trained to solve problems. Managers are under the impression that educators do not know what is happening in the “real world”. Because of this perception, managers are unlikely to use academic research. Managers will have to be convinced that academic research can be applied to the business world before they will use it. (Buckley, Ferris, Bernardin, Harvey 1998) The decision of which type of research to use will depend on what your goal is. Are you trying to solve a problem? Are you trying to discover the optimal solution to a difficult problem?
You will want to choose a business proposal. Are you trying to add relevant information to the current knowledge base of an exclusive field of study? Are you conducting an easily replicated experiment? Is your goal to contribute to scholarly sources? You will want to choose formal research. A business proposal is a sometimes proprietary, executive summary of a conclusion that was reached to solve a problem or situation that has occurred. The purpose of a business proposal is to find the best possible solution. The recommended course of action is usually the same as the conclusions. Martin 2011) This style of research is best suited for the business world. This is the best strategy for determining a course of action with regards to a specific problem or situation that has arisen within that organization. A formal research proposal is an abstract based on ideas from other scholarly sources. The goal is to contribute to the current knowledge base. It is executed as an experiment that can be replicated. The conclusion, in this category, only generates a limited scope of information. (Martin 2011) The problem for providers is how to turn one-time-only customers into repeat customers.
A repeat customer has the potential to eventually become a loyal customer. The actual state in every providers’ office is that they all have one-time-only customers. The desired state is to have repeat customers. A repeat customer has the potential to become a loyal customer. A customer is defined as an individual that is the recipient of a good or service, made available by a provider, ordinarily in exchange for money. In the health care environment, the customer is a patient, who is the recipient of the services.
A physician is the provider who supplies the services in exchange for money. Reizenstein (2004) In this continually competitive setting, customer centric services are becoming crucial for success. It takes substantially more effort to gain a new customer than to keep a current, loyal customer. Placing emphasis on both products and services to develop a long-term relationship with satisfied customers is of utmost importance. Reizenstein (2004) The term consumer is frequently used synonymously with the word customer. A consumer is a specific type of customer.
A consumer is the end user of goods purchased in a retail establishment. Traditionally, the word consumer is almost never associated with a service. A consumer is eternally a purchaser but a customer is not. Reizenstein (2004) In reference to embracing a marketing approach, health care has historically been prone to being distinctly behind the curve, when compared with other companies. Consequently health care has implemented a new focus loyalty in patients. Loyal patients are a godsend for all physicians, hospitals and health care organizations (HCOs).
Loyal patients not only have the advantages of repeated use of services but they also refer their family and friends. MacStravic (1998) A loyal patient is a gold mine. There are three well-defined basics for “consumer loyalty in health care: (a) the features and attributes characterizing providers of care and their brand image that cause consumers to choose them in the first place, (b) the quality of the experiences consumers have when they use those providers, and (c) the differences that a continuing relationship with those providers makes on heir health and lives. ” MacStravic (1998) Health care organizations and physicians have been focusing their energies on improving their own personal and professional qualities. They have recently been giving growing consideration to the encounters that patients have, by creating a healing atmosphere, ease of accessibility, and comfort within their interactions. All of this is done with regards to being able to improve patient satisfaction. In the future, physicians will turn their attention toward the impact they can and do make on consumers’ lives.
Consumers can and do have many opportunities to find unconventional products, services and providers who are more than willing meet the growing requests for these alternatives. Health care has an impact in all aspects of consumers’ lives. The endorsement of healthy habits can improve strength, stamina and flexibility, in addition to reducing injuries and increasing overall well-being. Prevention can diminish the occurrence of a wide range of maladies. The management of chronic and acute conditions can enable consumers, and their families, to recover from and/or cope with diseases, with the least amount of intrusion into their lives.
Because loyalty is constituted as an ongoing relationship between consumers and health care providers, it makes sense that such relationships have their own intrinsic value to consumers and the providers. Physicians are finally joining other industries in striving for loyalty among their consumers. The providers that focus on the improvements that they have made in consumers’ lives will have a clear-cut advantage over their competitors. Health care can and does make a significant difference in the lives of consumers.
This connection provides a far stronger basis for loyal relationships between the patients and providers, than do most other industries. Customer relationship management research suggests that the goal of a business organization should be to develop, enhance, and maintain relationships with its “best customers. ” Thus, not all customers are created equal. Therefore, it is in the provider’s best interest to create lifelong relationships with these specifically targeted patients that will provide the most benefit to the provider’s success.
However success is defined, the purpose of this research is to identify, target, and cultivate the relationships that are essential for the goal. Customer relationship management is the outgrowth of two recent trends across industries. First trend is that customers have more money and more choices than ever before. The second trend is that in industries across the board customers now have higher standards for what constitutes a satisfactory customer experience. Several factors are driving the most recent customer relationship trends. The trends are: (A) More competition.
The more providers there are the more choices a customer has. A customer can demand more from a provider because they can easily take their business elsewhere. (B) Fragmented markets. As markets become more competitive, providers nowadays are targeting sub-segments of the customer base. The more unique customer cliques are now demanding and receiving highly focused services from willing “niche” providers. (C) Abundance of product information. Aggressive promotion by providers plus plentiful “public information,” via the Internet, means that customers are more educated about their care options.
Gardail (2004) Technology has created an explosion of customer information. This has amplified the provider’s ability to understand, target, and form lasting relationships with customers. The combination of the current trends has created a fertile environment where being “customer focused” can be accomplished with a precision that has never before been attempted. The contemporary view of the current market reorients traditional thinking in the following ways. Traditional Thinking vs. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Thinking New customer acquisition vs.
Customer retention Share of market vs. Share of the customer’s wallet Transaction based (one exchange) vs. Loyal relationships (lifetime exchanges) Mass customer markets vs. One-to-one responses Focus on provider’s offering Focus on customer’s needs Gardail (2004) Customer satisfaction research is conducted to determine the customer’s reaction to and/or feelings about the value received from the services provided. This research typically evaluates a specific product or service through the use of a customer satisfaction survey. Such surveys, using customer satisfaction rating and other evaluative techniques, yield a ‘report card’ of the provider’s strengths and weaknesses that the provider can then use to improve the product or service being offered. Customer satisfaction research is used across the spectrum of industries, including a wide array involved in various aspects of health care, from pharmaceutical companies to hospitals, clinics, and private practice, to medical equipment suppliers. Reizenstein (2004) Some customer satisfaction research concentrates on service, in reference to how well the provider performs those services. These features are measured against a comparison standard for that particular area of service. For instance, all patients have a point of reference as to how long it is acceptable to be in the waiting room. Within a comparison standard, the time spent in the waiting room has an acceptability range. If that range of acceptability is exceeded, the customer experiences dissatisfaction with that particular aspect of the service being offered by that provider.
This dissatisfaction grows in direct proportion to the comparison standard that is exceeded. On the flip side, if the range of acceptability is reduced, the customer experiences increased satisfaction with the service offered by that particular provider. This feeling of satisfaction grows as the product or service improves. If the improvement is truly notable, the customer may experience satisfaction that is so positive it becomes memorable. There are several distinctive types of comparison standards that can be used in customer service research.
These standards include: (a) expectations, which is how the customer believes the service will perform, (b) ideals, which is how the customer wishes the service would perform, (c) experience, which are interactions with other competitors within the same category, (d) industry norms, which is the typical performance of competitors in the same category, (e) other competitors that are in a different category, and (f) marketing promises, such as a promotional service advertised by a provider.
Reizenstein (2004) Any company that needs to understand how well it performs, in relationship to its competition, can use customer satisfaction surveys. Customer surveys revolve around specific values. Customer satisfaction surveys should incorporate the following values: (a) attributes that describe the service, (b) consequences that describe the patient-provider interaction, and (c) goals of the provider. The purpose of developing a customer satisfaction survey is to measure the value of a service in reference to the previously listed features.
The questions in these surveys are designed to address the previously discussed performance values. The questions in these surveys should address all three features: attributes, consequences and goals. These values should be generated by interviews with the targeted customers. The values to be assessed in a customer satisfaction survey must be helpful to the providers. Customer satisfaction surveys can assess the performance of the providers from the features to the end-goal. This is normally done through a combination of customer satisfaction questions, open-ended questions, and demographic information.
Customer satisfaction rating questions normally come first in survey work and can range from rank-order preference questions to questions based on rating scales. Likert scales use the type of scale that uses strongly agree to strongly disagree. This type of scale is used primarily in the measurement of attitudes. Reber, Allen, Reber (2009) Careful consideration must be taken so that the questions that are asked are about goals can be achieved, are important to the customer, are not excessively redundant, and do not ask about more than one aspect within the same question. Such customer satisfaction rating questions are usually followed by demographic information so that rating scale responses can be cross-classified by demographic descriptors such as age, education, gender, race, and type of health insurance. Open-ended questions are recommended for inclusion at the end of satisfaction surveys, to provide in-depth insights into key areas of strength and weakness of the provider regarding the product or service in question. ” Reizenstein (2009) Satisfaction surveys should be done every three months to be of maximum usefulness to the provider seeking information.
Conclusion In conclusion there is an abundance of information on the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty, specifically in the healthcare setting. This is has provided the proof to disprove the hypothesis that there is no relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty. A loyal customer is a repeat, satisfied customer. Providers have to go above and beyond to retain customers so they can become repeat, loyal customers.
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