Handbook of Healthcare Management

Handbook of Healthcare Management

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Myron D. Fottler, Donna Malvey and Donna J. Slovensky

The Handbook of Healthcare Management is a comprehensive examination of key management practices for global healthcare organizations, arguing that insight into and implementation of these practices is essential for success and sustainability.

Chapter 5: Customer service

Myron D. Fottler and Tina Yeung

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, strategic management, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


Management of customer service in healthcare requires addressing the service strategy, service staffing, and service systems. All are important contributors to the ultimate goal of meeting and exceeding the needs, wants, and expectations of internal and external customers. Key internal customers include physicians and staff. Key external customers include patients, families, third-party payers, and vendors. Discussion of the service strategy involves looking at the current market reality and consumer expectations. The strategic planning process as it relates to service requires assessment of the external environment, developing appropriate action plans, forecasting the future, enhancing the healing environment, and creating a customer-focused culture. Staffing addresses the human resource activities which provide the professional and non-professional staff who develop, implement, improve, and monitor the service strategy. Such activities or functions include job analysis, recruitment, selection, leader and staff development, employee motivation, and patient co-production of services. Systems refer to the processes, standards, and other practices that support staff including information systems, various systems techniques, systems to reduce wait times, feedback systems, and service failure recovery systems.

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