As mentionedbefore, there are many things that can affect consumer decision-making, and understandingconsumer behavior is essential for both healthcare and non-healthcare organizationsto succeed. Marketers who fail tounderstand the factors of decision-making, will not be successful in reachingor meeting the needs of consumers.
The consumer decision-making model explains consumerbehavior on Marketers relyon understanding consumer behavior, and one of the tools utilized to influence consumerbehavior is website design that is informative, exceeds a healthcareorganization’s objectives, and is easy to navigate through. When evaluating the Medical Group of SouthFlorida’s website, I found that it was easy to use. The menu structure is centered at the top ofthe home page with descriptive links. Although the link to retrieve physician information is included in the homepage’smenu, physician bios are easily found towards the bottom of the page.
Dr. Luis Ulloa’s bio was selected, but I foundit and the other physician profiles to be brief. The information included in his profileincluded that he is board certified, where and when he graduated from medicalschool, where he completed his residency, and that he’s bilingual.
What I would suggest to also include in thebio are his distinguished awards, hospital affiliation, society memberships, volunteeractivities, when he began practicing with the group, and maybe explain why hebecame a physician. The profile wasn’tengaging, and in my opinion, the lack of information may not spur new patientsto make appointments. Once options are evaluated, a choiceis made, however, it is the patient’s experience with the physician and staff thatwill truly determine if the decision made was a good or bad one. Patients who are not satisfied will not return,and may act against the healthcare organization by warning others. While comparingphysicians, important things that consumers take into consideration are boardcertification, which physician is in network, hospital affiliation, age and experience,availability, are new patients accepted, physician and staff reputation, reviews,appointment ease, and type of medical degree (M.D or D.O.).
Another factor is the gender of the physicianand comfort level of discussing certain medical conditions with a physician whois male or female. Information onphysicians can come in many forms. Someexamples are through word of mouth, physician referral, advertisements, websites,health fairs, and open houses hosted by healthcare organizations. Asking others for recommendations of physiciansin the area is also another way, but ultimately it is solely up to anindividual to decide which physician is more suitable for his or her need. After an individual becomes well-informed of newphysicians, comparative thinking comes into action to explore pros and cons. Every day, thereare consumers making decisions regarding healthcare, and the decisions made byconsumers are influenced by numerous factors. Finding quality physicians is one of the most significant decisions anindividual must make, and there are many approaches and resources that can helppatients choose new medical providers. Shoppingfor a new physician requires awareness, research, contemplation, choice, andexperience, and there are several explanations why an individual would be inthe market for a new doctor.
Perhaps,the one acquiring has moved to a new city or state, had a change in medicalinsurance that his or her current physician does not accept, or a patient’scurrent physician is either retiring or moving to another location that is toofar. Once the consumer’s problem isidentified, the next step is to acquire information on other physicians. The final stageis post-purchase behavior, which involves the behavior and experiences ofconsumers after a purchase is made. In brief,consumers compare a product or service with previous expectations or perceivedperformance, and are either satisfied or dissatisfied.
The post-purchase phase of thedecision-making process is essential for marketers to ensure that consumers aresatisfied after the purchase. (Ramesh, 2008, p.3), and the importance of thepost-purchase satisfaction is that suggestions are provided about thetrustfulness of the product by appreciation the performance (Bao, 2008). Once the bestoption is identified, “The consumer makes the purchase, selecting one brand oralternative over the others” (Berkowitz, 2010, p. 130). This is the fourth stage, where purchasestake place. For this stage, it is vitalfor marketers to be attentive of influencing factors, and be knowledgeable of howto shape those factors to have a competitive advantage. The goal of marketing is not to attractone-time consumers.
It is used toincrease consumer desirability, attract new consumers, keep repeat consumers,and match products or services to the needs of consumers. Anything a marketer can do to simplifypurchasing will help attract new and repeating consumers. Evaluation ofalternatives is the fourth stage. Duringthis stage, assessments of current resources are made, the pros and cons ofeach alternative are weighed, and an understanding of new products or servicesare gained. The evaluation of productsand services are based on varying qualities, and whether the benefits aconsumer seeks can be delivered.
To putit simply, consumers consider the relative importance of each attribute of the product-servicemix” (Reid and Bojanic, 2009, p.39). Thisstage not only allows consumers to distinguish the trade-offs of eachalternative, it also allows consumers to choose the best option to meet a need. Once a problemor need is recognized, consumers tend to start an information search foralternative selections to resolve the problem or fulfill a need. The process of searching take place in thesecond and third stages (internal and external information search) of thedecision-making process. When consumersidentify alternatives from personal recollection or knowledge of a service orproduct, it is known as internal information search. On the other hand, during externalinformation search, consumers have no prior knowledge of a product or service,and look elsewhere for new information that will aid in decision-making.
During the internal and external search,alternative options available to consumers become identified. Problem/needrecognition is the first stage of the consumer decision-making process, and perPerreau (2012), it is the most important of all the stages. At this stage, consumers must become aware ofa problem or need, which warrants consumers to take the next step.
Problem recognition is regarded as the purchasedecision initiative, and is the beginning of all consumer-activities. Neal and Quester (2006) state that therecognition of a problem or need depend on different situations and circumstances,which result in the creation of a purchasing idea. Its importance of problem recognition is also recognizedin most models of consumer behavior (Howard 1989; Engel, Blackwell and Miniard1986; Wilkie 1990), since other stages of the consumer decision-making process arechronologically linked to it and have a dependent relationship with it. · Post-purchase behavior· Actual purchase of the product or service.· Evaluation of alternatives· External information search· Internal information search· Problem/Need recognitionThe consumerdecision-making model, also known as sales funnel, consists of six stages, andexplores the internal and external factors that influence decision-making. Understanding the process model is veryimportant for both medical and non-medical organizations, and enables marketersto design effective marketing strategies. Consumer decision making depends on several factors: (1) cultural, (2)social, (3) individual, and (4) psychological, and the decision making-modelconsists of the following stages. The process in which consumers gather andassess information, and make selections among several services, organizations,and goods is called the consumer decision-making process.
This process describes the journey of aconsumer’s purchase of goods or selection of services. Depending on a consumer’s opinion, needs, andexpectations, the consumer decision-making process can be either simple orcomplex. Since the 1960’s, models ofconsumer decision-making have continued to develop to gain clarity on consumerbehavior and what influences the decisions made by consumers. ConsumerDecision-Making Model