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Health Serv Manage Res. 2006 Feb;19(1):52-66.

Comparing hospital staff and patient perceptions of customer service: a pilot study utilizing survey and focus group data.

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Programs in Health Service Administration, College of Health and Public Affairs, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA.


The measurement of patient satisfaction is crucial to enhancing customer service and competitive advantage in the health-care industry. While there are numerous approaches to such measurement, this paper provides a case study which compares and contrasts patient and staff perceptions of customer service using both survey and focus group data. Results indicate that there is a high degree of correlation between staff and patient perceptions of customer service based on both survey and focus group data. However, the staff and patient subgroups also provided complementary information regarding patient perceptions of their service experience. Staff members tended to have more negative perceptions of service attributes than did the patients themselves. The focus group results provide complementary information to survey results in terms of greater detail and more managerially relevant information. While these results are derived from a pilot study, they suggest that diversification of data sources beyond patient surveys may enhance the utility of customer service information. If further research can affirm these findings, they create exciting possibilities for gathering valid, reliable and cost-effective customer service information.

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