Customer service at a private hospital in the North–West Province
Van Heerden, Johannes Francois
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The South African private healthcare industry is a very competitive market. The three key role players in this industry all market themselves as institutions that provide quality care and service. As a result of this marketing, customers attend these private institutions with the expectation that they will receive quality service. This study centres around the research of customer service at a private hospital or private healthcare institution. The objective was to measure the expectations and perceptions of customers who made use of the services at the private healthcare institution. Thereafter, the gaps between the expectations and perceptions were also analysed in order to determine the practically significant areas for management to focus their improvements on with regards to the quality of service system. The literature review revealed that the SERVQAUL model is the optimal instrument to be used to measure the expectations and perceptions of customers at a service institution of this nature. The model also provides a way of measuring the gaps that exist between the customers? expectations and perceptions, by adapting an instrument of 22 statements to the specific industry. The 22 statements measure the quality of services across the five SERVQUAL dimensions, namely tangibles, reliability, resposiveness, assurance and empathy. This provides valuable data for effect size analysis in all five of the SERVQUAL service quality dimensions. The results revealed that customers? expectations of the service quality at the private healthcare insittution were high. The average score for the 22 expectation statments was 6.56 out of 7.0. The customers' perceptions of the service quality at the private healthcare institution, were high, but, however, lower than the expectations average. The average score for the 22 perception statements was 6.17 out of 7.0. This indicated that there was a difference between the perception of healthcare services and that which was expected of the healthcare institution. The reliability of the SERVQUAL instrument, was done by the calculation of a Cronbach Alpha for each of the five dimensions of the instrument and an average of 0.875 was achieved. This indicated a high reliability of the data.
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