Unlike physical products, a service cannot be seen, tasted or felt before it is bought. There is always an element of uncertainty and the service seeker looks for evidence of quality. People will draw conclusions from the place, the people, key influencers, communication material and most importantly from people who have already gone through the experience. Therefore the service provider’s task is to supply this evidence, to “tangibilize the intangible” [Kotler] Shouldice marketing strategy is one of a kind, in the sense that it is different, which is the secret behind every successful strategy.
It’s ? thinking out of the box’. It’s sensing a need and fulfilling it in a remarkable manner. Everything we have studied in the past classes seems to be embodied in the strategy of Shouldice hospital from experiential marketing, brand loyalty, providing a memorable experience, the importance of good word of mouth advertising, to focus and using one’s competitive advantage to such an extent that although people might try to copy it, there are slim chances of them getting it right.
Shouldice hospital is marketing a well-developed, focused service delivery system, it is providing an experience. Core Competency Dr. Earle Shouldice who founded the hospital started this operation from an idea and then developed the idea further by dedication and passion, he operated on men who wanted to be soldiers but were denied because they needed hernia treatment, during the war in 1940, hospital space and doctors were scarce, especially for this non-emergency surgery that normally took three weeks of hospitalization.
Shouldice stepped in and operated without taking any fee, he performed an innovative method of surgery on seventy of these men, hastening their induction into the army, and thus the idea developed into a surgical technique which survived him and is still thriving. As Bruce Lee once said I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. ” The focus on doing what you are best in, and developing it to such an extent that people are trying to copy it, it makes sense to just stick to that and that’s what Shouldice did.
A Strategic Service Concept- Focused Service Factory Shouldice defined the one thing they do to perfection and built a whole integrated system around it. Removal of external hernia were their forte and they stuck to it. The patients at the Shouldice center take some of care of themselves. Before the operation a questionnaire is sent to them which is simple to understand and the purpose is to determine the type of hernia and other risks associated with surgery. In Shouldice, all the patients were encouraged to walk up and down the halls and to get in dialog with the other patients and the surgeons.
In thought of encouraging the patients, the steps between the floors are constructed with a smooth inclination, there are not TV’s at the bedrooms and the rooms were designed as if it were a home instead of a hospital. Every square foot of facility is carpeted to reduce the hospital feeling and the possibility of a fall. ?Market Segment: Shouldice hospital is staying focused because it has not changed its target market and the methods that made it a success; the target market for Shouldice Hospital remains the people who were detected with a primary inguinal, which was the most common kind of hernia. They treated only external hernias.
More complicated cases, especially those involving patients with other health problems, were not undertaken. The primary advantage of admitting only healthy people was that the duration of the patient in the hospital was drastically cut down. Thus new patients could be admitted with a higher frequency. Great Word of mouth advertising “Part of the success of the Hospital from a psychological point of view is the opportunity for the patients to meet one another. I certainly enjoyed the other patients and I did not hear a single one express any negative attitude toward the hospital and I heard many glowing words about it.
” RON KENYON-THORNHILL, ONTARIO Other qualities that help it stay focused in short are ?A Flat Organizational structure – Top Management Commitment to Quality Dr. Shouldice and his sister Mrs. Uquhart each owned 50% of each, i. e. , the hospital and the clinic. O’Dell as the administrator was responsible for all the five departments ? surgery, nursing, administration, maintenance and housekeeping. T ? Customer Value & Satisfaction – As is evident by the questionnaire and response and the fact that most of its customers are referrals.
Which according to most is the one number you need to be concerned about. ?Focused Differentiation Stayed focus on treating external hernias ?Self Service Technologies – Patients self screen – Self Serve – Walk about – Don’t need bed pans Q2. Is Shouldice hospital a good place to work and why? Excellent service providers know that positive employee attitudes will promote stronger customer loyalty, so the best employees must be found to do the job and then they must be retained. At Shouldice the turnover rate is minimal, only four nurses a year, which for hospitals is quite remarkable.
Shouldice hospital is great place to work pretty much for the same reason that it is a great place to be operated on. There is an atmosphere of warmth of family rather than a workplace. The nurses work more as psychologists. And a lot of the dirty jobs so to say are avoided since the patient is healthy enough to walk around the place, his linen need not be washed regularly and can be changed only after he leaves the hospital after four days plus patients do not need bed pans. This also reduces the amount of time that the nurses need to devote to each patient in terms of individual care.
Nurses could better utilize this time by conducting orientation programs for the patients and also counseling them. This kind of work keeps the work force motivated and they do not have to deal with the drudgery of day-to-day work. There s a profit sharing plan for both doctors and nurses. As far as the doctors are concerned they get a chance to see ? their children grow up’, meaning that the hospital does not take over their entire lives as this profession normally does.
The doctor on call is rarely called to the office and has regular hours. A surgeon day ends at 4 p. m. which in medical terms is quite a ? miracle’. And although hernia repairs are traditionally seen as mundane the Shouldice technique is a trick anatomical procedure and thus it gives a doctor a new skill. Salary and bonuses are good too.
Since the patient base is healthy post-operative care required is lesser. There is an ? open door’ policy that was in place for the staff. Employees can go to O’Dell could come in and discuss their problems ranging right from their personal problems to their official problems. This kind of close staff and management interaction helped in keeping the staff.
Nobody gets fired; the pay scale is higher than comparable jobs in other areas. There is a feeling of family as people often pitch in to do work. Alan O’Dell went on to further elaborate the happy and feeling involved. Yet another policy prevalent is that of job rotation, which removes the monotony from the job, also helps in keeping the staff prepared to face crisis situations, which could possibly arise due to some staff member remaining absent or suddenly taking ill. The staff functioned more as autonomous units loosely controlled by the administration.
This freedom served as a motivating factor and propelled them to achieve higher efficiency results. Q3. How is Shouldice providing a unique and memorable experience to its patients? The Provision of an Experience rather than a service! The first thing that struck me while reading the case that it’s not like a hospital at all it’s more like a home where people for retired people or even in fact a hostel. Shouldice has been remarkably successful in its ability to not only provide its patients with a quick, quality and low cost surgery but also providing an unforgettable experience and comfortable environment to all of its patients.
Shouldice Hospital success is due to a number of factors ? Warm and friendly environment [carpets to dispel the hospital feeling and disinfectant smell] ? Communal Dining; which is psychologically appealing to patients receiving surgery, they are able to associate with other patients as well as doctors receiving the procedure to compare notes and discuss concerns and ultimately alleviate any anxieties with other patients. ?Patients encouraged to exercise and walk around meeting other people making friends. 58% appreciated friendship with other patients as ? very important’ and 34.
57% rated exercise as ? very important’ ? Shouldice Hospital has a high success rate; only 0. 8%. Dr. Shouldice technique is far superior to others. 72% rated that as ? very important ? Building of partnerships and sharing of medical notes. Patients are given rooms that they share with a roommate who is generally from a similar professional background or shares similar hobbies. ?Post-operative treatment that they get. No television or telephone is kept in the room. Thus the patient compulsorily has to walk down the specially constructed stairs and come to the common room to avail of these facilities.
This helps the patient recovers mentally and considers himself fit and healthy. Patients in fact want to stay longer; they can explore the premises make new friends, You are not alone and isolated feeling scared for children their parents are allowed to stay with them without charge. At every customer touch point the feeling of intimacy and caring “putting yourself in the patient’s shoes” is available Q4 Should Shouldice hospital expand? Why? Group 13 Shouldice should expand but be very cautious not lose out on its uniqueness, because bigness and the cost associated with it often can lead to undifferentiating.
Q5. If it were to expand, what are the options available to expand what are the options available to expand and which option do you recommend? What is going on presently? 1. Alan O’Dell wants to increase capacity he doesn’t want to lose control over quality. He thinks himself as a doctor first then as an entrepreneur. 2. They can’t market their services as they don’t know if they will be able to fulfill the demand. 3. Other doctors are using the Shouldice technique without results. 4. Saturday operations, if they expand further there is danger of change in attitude.
5. Dr. Obney is resisting change and opposes operations on Saturdays. 6. Even when hey expand capacity backlog declines but climbs once again 7. The selection of the next chief surgeon So what should they do? The were established as a focused service factory and that hs led to their success so they should definitely not move away from that into other areas, stick to external hernia operations. Since patients are attracted to the hospital in part by rates, any expansion plan has to ensure that the cost des not have to be borne by the patient.
They should definitely copyright the Shouldice technique. Teach it to other surgeons and make sure that people check if the surgeon who says he is using the Shouldice technique has a certification much like the board certification needed. This is to protect their intellectual property. Or have a campaign that makes people aware that others are copying their technique and it’s not endorsed. Since you can’t stop them from copying you can train them yourselves. There is a demand for the same operation from other hospitals. Besides, some of the other hospitals are imitating the same method wrongly.
So, they should develop a self-contained branch in northern part of US. And by the help of their good image in medical care, they can brass to offer new specialty medical service first in Toronto. If the demand is enough, they can expand their new specialty medical care service area. Brochures saying that Shouldice Hospital is the only hospital having the technical expertise to practice the Shouldice method and warning the people against fraudulent practices will ensure that the failures of such fraud operations are not blamed on the Shouldice method. They can videoconference now that technology permits.
This technique can be done over the world. They can hire new surgeons and nurses to deal with the expanded capacity, especially for Saturdays. If Saturday surgery is causing a rift a compromise can be reached by limiting the number of operations that would be actually performed on Saturday. Although addition of Saturday operations will result in increased workload. Since the patients stay at Shouldice for average of 5 days, an increment in capacity will be inevitable.
There should be a lot of talks and Saturdays should definitely be utilized since patients who’s operations are scheduled late in the weekend stayed in the hospital over the weekend Adding another floor of beds which could increase MON-FRI surgeries by 50%. In my opinion adding a half day Saturday is the best option. Although 42% of their patients come from the U. S.
I’m not sure whether opening a hospital in the U. S. would allow them to stick to their strategy or the differentiation they have created. An organization like this is very characteristic of the place it belongs ? Canada. America is a different ball game and it could cause them to lose its distinctive edge and ? soul’.