Marking Scheme Group Assignment One Services Marketing Semester: Spring 2011

1. Which of the eight elements of the services marketing mix are addressed in this case? Give examples of each “P” you identify. (48 marks i.e. 6 marks per an element of the service mix)

Product elements: Beckett’s core product is “to provide superior dentistry” in “a quality, caring environment.” Both facilitating and enhancing supplementary services add value to the core (see question 4 for a complete description) and distinguish Beckett’s practice from those of competing dentists. Place and time: Because sanitary conditions and specialized equipment are needed for most dental procedures, patients must come to Beckett’s office for treatment. Service delivery normally occurs between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., but employees will occasionally work late to finish a procedure or accommodate a special request from a patient. Beckett also sees patients after hours and on weekends to provide emergency care. Process: Dental care is a people-processing service, so patients must be physically present to receive care. Beckett has spent invested both time and money in improving both front office and back office service delivery. Productivity and quality: Beckett has positioned her practice on the basis of high-quality service provision. But she is also aware that productivity is critical. These elements are reflected in the internal mission statement displayed in the back office, which reads: “It is our goal to provide superior dentistry in an efficient, profitable manner within the confines of a caring, quality environment.” Beckett moved to a new office because her old one was too cramped to allow her staff to work efficiently. She also redesigned all of the office systems (billing, ordering, lab work and patient treatment). One of her main goals was to standardize some of the routine procedures so that error was reduced and all patients would receive the same level of care. Specific times have been assigned for each procedure, and the staff work very hard to see that these are met. Front office staff attempt to fill cancellations to make sure office capacity is maximized. Staff members will substitute for one another when necessary or help with tasks that are not specifically in their job descriptions to make things run more smoothly. People: Beckett understands that her employees are a critical part of service delivery. She states that “90 percent of patients’ perceptions of quality come from their interactions with the front desk and other employees—not from the staff’s technical skills.” Beckett treats her staff as both friends and valuable company assets. She expects a lot from them but also motivates them with training, profit sharing, and rewards like bonuses and vacations when the practice meets its financial goals. While patients are most affected by the employees, they also come into contact with other patients in the waiting room.

The technical equipment looks very modern and is spotlessly clean. • • . There are extensive non-financial costs associated with the service—these are covered in detail in Question 2. Price and other costs: Patients may incur both financial and non-financial costs. quality-oriented patients interested in keeping healthy smiles for a lifetime. The new office is visually attractive. along with certificates from various programs that she and her staff have attended to update their technical skills. while the front office employees wear professional business attire. The office logo and business cards are done in a style that matches the high-quality image Beckett wants to portray. Dr.” Because friends or family have already told them about her service. and pamphlets. This philosophy is reflected in the patient mission statement displayed in the waiting area: “We are a caring. including verbal discussions. Beckett’s examining rooms are adjacent to one another.Because many of Dr. Beckett does put a lot of energy into educating patients to be partners in their own dental health care. nicely landscaped parking lot. purple. she doesn’t have to sell herself. However. All of her new business comes from positive word of mouth by current patients. videotapes. professional dental team serving motivated.” Beckett’s staff educates patients in a variety of ways. and blue that match the office décor. Beckett’s dental degrees are prominently displayed in her office. Our goal is to offer a progressive and educational environment. • Promotion and education: Beckett’s office does no advertising or promotions. Your concerns are our focus. patients can also overhear other people’s conversations and reactions to procedures. State-of-the-art computerized machinery is used for some procedures. She believes that referrals are a real advantage because new patients don’t come in “cold. Physical evidence: Beckett carefully manages the physical evidence of service. The patient’s first experience is a clean. The entire back office staff (including the dentist) wears matching uniforms in cheerful shades of pink. and the Scandinavian design reflects Beckett’s desire to balance function with aesthetics. but patients must pay any additional expenses. Most financial costs are covered by insurance.

and the staff works hard to see that these are met. While Beckett’s employees can’t reduce most of these costs directly.. sounds (e.. Beckett’s office has tried to minimize in-process waits by standardizing most of the routine procedures.g. Dental patients can sometimes get the financial cost of treatment covered by insurance but experience all four kinds of nonfinancial costs to varying degrees: • Time costs: These include both time waiting for service and the actual service delivery.2. the frightening-looking dental equipment). teeth being ground). and discomfort that are typically associated with the service process. Beckett’s employees try to reduce psychological costs by educating patients (through discussion or with brochures and videos) about the specific procedures they will be undergoing.. and tastes (e. effort. There is also a cost of feeling embarrassed to leave the dentist’s office with a temporarily swollen mouth and altered speech. The employees also warn patients when a procedure is likely to be uncomfortable or painful. blood. 5 marks for identifying a cause and providing a solution) Many people don’t like going to the dentist because of the non-financial costs in time.g. the “burnt” smell from drilling. The front office employees often call patients if they know there will be a delay. Sensory costs: There are many sensory costs associated with a visit to the dentist. Specific times are allotted to each of these procedures. they attempt to offset them by decorating the office in soothing colors and providing distractions like music (played in the office and also available through headphones if the patient has a special request). only to be miserable upon leaving as a result of the treatment they receive! Beckett’s staff tries to be gentle in treating patients. But many others feel fine when they enter the dentist’s office.g. Why do people dislike going to the dentist? Do you feel that Beckett has addressed the problem effectively? ( 20 marks. the dental materials). whining drills. • • • .g. Most of this fear is related to the expectation that unpleasant physical costs will be experienced during dental care. Some patients go to the dentist for help in reducing pain. smells (e. the medicinal smells of the dental materials). and Novocain and gas are used when necessary to reduce painful sensations during procedures. Patients whose wait is longer than twenty minutes are given the option to reschedule. Physical costs: Visits to the dentist often involve discomfort—ranging from the mildly unpleasant sensation of having one’s teeth cleaned to the severe pain accompanying a more intrusive procedure.. Patients who will experience discomfort after they leave Beckett’s office are provided with soothing mouthwashes and prescriptions for pain-relieving drugs. Patients encounter unfamiliar sights (e. Patients whose procedures are lengthy are given pillows and blankets so that they won’t get cold from sitting still for a long time. Beckett’s office tries to minimize waiting time by having patients make appointments (a method of reservations) and scheduling an appropriate number of patients each day. Psychological costs: Fear is the main psychological cost—both before and during a visit to the dentist.

What supplementary services are offered? How do they enhance service delivery? Beckett’s service delivery involves both facilitating and enhancing supplementary services. The facilitating services are required in service production. 4.3. Emergency procedures (which disrupt the normal order-taking process) are handled immediately— even if they occur after regular office hours or on weekends. The office staff also provides information about specific dental procedures through conversations with patients. Less routine treatments (like crowns or gum repair) are scheduled sooner. and videos and brochures are available. patients are advised about what is happening and how long the procedure will take to complete. (12 marks in total. For a routine cleaning and exam. patients sometimes have to pay additional fees. 10 marks for the existing methods of educating patients as stated in the case and 10 marks for new ideas/methods well explained) All new patients have an initial exam with Dr. Office policy requires patients to pay any fees not covered by insurance at the time of treatment. During treatment. Order-taking: Whenever possible. Before any non-routine procedure. Billing: Beckett’s employees contact patients’ insurance companies to collect payment. Beckett does not yet have a Web site. patients make an appointment (a reservation) for dental care. patients may have to wait three to four months if they don’t have their appointments automatically scheduled every six months. while the enhancing services add value to the core product. 1.5 marks per each supplementary service identified and how it contributes to the core service) Facilitating supplementary services: • Information: Beckett’s staff tells patients about dental procedures and costs before treatment occurs. but additional statements are mailed if necessary. check. They can do this via cash. • • • . How do Beckett and her staff educate patients about the service they are receiving? What else could they do? (20 marks. Beckett discusses with each patient the reasons for her treatment recommendations and the possible options. Payment: While insurance covers most costs. Beckett so she can do a needs assessment and educate them about her service. but this might be a very useful tool for educating and building relationships with her patients (especially since they are primarily white-collar workers who match the demographics of Internet users). or credit card.

the front office staff will attempt to work out a reasonable billing schedule. and regular checkups). a “goodie box” for patients that contains a toothbrush. buckwheat pillows and blankets for patient comfort during long procedures. and the walls are covered with art. Safekeeping: Parking is available in a clean. Headphones are available with a wide selection of music. Mobiles hang from the ceiling to distract patients from the unfamiliar sounds and sensations they are experiencing. Service failures of any kind are corrected immediately (e. They also discuss non-routine treatments with patients and provide counseling about how to maximize their treatment outcomes. Each room has a large window that allows patients to watch birds eating at the feeders. If payment is a problem for patients. The chairs in the examining rooms are covered in leather and are very comfortable. nicely landscaped lot right in front of the office. The waiting room and reception area is attractively furnished. Classical music plays softly. There are coat racks in each examining room where patients can hang coats and purses. They hope that by educating patients about proper maintenance (like flossing.g. mouthwash. Exceptions: Beckett’s employees treat emergencies when they occur—even if this means Beckett has to come in after hours or on weekends. Live plants and flowers are abundant. toothpaste. • • • . and a photo album in the waiting area with pictures of staff and their families. and floss. Some of the most successful hospitality services came from staff suggestions about how to improve patient care. Hospitality: Beckett’s office is designed to maximize guests’ comfort. Patients can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and browse through current magazines while they wait. Children can play with toys or watch videos in a conference room under the supervision of front office staff while their parents receive treatment. brushing. future corrective procedures can be avoided. These include follow-up calls to patients after major procedures.. replacing a broken temporary tooth or refitting a crown).Enhancing supplementary services: • Consultation: Beckett and her staff consult with patients both before and after treatment.

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