In many ways hospitals and car repair garages are the same in the way they handle customers or patients.
A customer/ patient
- Does not want to be there.
Customers/patients have not come to have a good time. They have not come to leave their troubles behind, and they are not in a mood to be happy.
- Has not chosen to buy the service
They have been forced to use a service that they could have avoided if the chance was given.
- Only visit when things are potentially wrong
They usually come with a problem and try to avoid it as much as possible.
- Does not know what they are getting into
Since they are not experts, they don’t know what to expect.
- Little idea of the final price
In a transaction, there is usually a finality of prices but it is unpredictable here.
- Have to trust the experts (doctors/ mechanics)
Trust is very important, without that, the relationship is questionable.
- Sad environment when others are sick/ cars being repaired
The environment is not conducive to positiveness.
- A feeling of being helpless/ fleeced
The general perception is that they are being overcharged partially due to poor understanding and comprehension.
- Are vulnerable and have fewer choices
Choices are limited when you are faced with such problems.
- Is not always right
While they will demand a lot, they may not necessarily be correct. Being a customer implies that ‘I get the services I want’. It means that ‘I am right and I know exactly what I want.’ However, they are not always right and experts should tell so.
- Are not buying a product from which they can demand a positive outcome.
Sometimes the result of the service is still an illness and/or further repairs.
- Satisfaction does not always correlate with the quality of the product.
Even the best of services cannot necessarily give them a positive outcome or satisfaction to customers.
There is a level of inequality between the customer/ patient and the institution and this creates a huge trust deficit. In a for-profit hospital, it is more so. The feeling is that the vulnerability of the customer/ patient is being capitalized upon. Trust is the bedrock on which the relationship can survive. There are also other very important aspects like the physical environment which are very important but that suggestion is for another day!