As school, where he completed his residency, and

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As mentioned
before, there are many things that can affect consumer decision-making, and understanding
consumer behavior is essential for both healthcare and non-healthcare organizations
to succeed.  Marketers who fail to
understand the factors of decision-making, will not be successful in reaching
or meeting the needs of consumers.   The consumer decision-making model explains consumer
behavior on

Marketers rely
on understanding consumer behavior, and one of the tools utilized to influence consumer
behavior is website design that is informative, exceeds a healthcare
organization’s objectives, and is easy to navigate through.  When evaluating the Medical Group of South
Florida’s website, I found that it was easy to use.  The menu structure is centered at the top of
the home page with descriptive links. 
Although the link to retrieve physician information is included in the homepage’s
menu, physician bios are easily found towards the bottom of the page.  Dr. Luis Ulloa’s bio was selected, but I found
it and the other physician profiles to be brief.  The information included in his profile
included that he is board certified, where and when he graduated from medical
school, where he completed his residency, and that he’s bilingual.  What I would suggest to also include in the
bio are his distinguished awards, hospital affiliation, society memberships, volunteer
activities, when he began practicing with the group, and maybe explain why he
became a physician.  The profile wasn’t
engaging, and in my opinion, the lack of information may not spur new patients
to make appointments. 

Once options are evaluated, a choice
is made, however, it is the patient’s experience with the physician and staff that
will 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. 

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While comparing
physicians, important things that consumers take into consideration are board
certification, 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 physician
and comfort level of discussing certain medical conditions with a physician who
is male or female. 

Information on
physicians can come in many forms.  Some
examples are through word of mouth, physician referral, advertisements, websites,
health fairs, and open houses hosted by healthcare organizations.  Asking others for recommendations of physicians
in the area is also another way, but ultimately it is solely up to an
individual to decide which physician is more suitable for his or her need.  After an individual becomes well-informed of new
physicians, comparative thinking comes into action to explore pros and cons. 

Every day, there
are consumers making decisions regarding healthcare, and the decisions made by
consumers are influenced by numerous factors. 
Finding quality physicians is one of the most significant decisions an
individual must make, and there are many approaches and resources that can help
patients choose new medical providers.  Shopping
for a new physician requires awareness, research, contemplation, choice, and
experience, and there are several explanations why an individual would be in
the market for a new doctor.  Perhaps,
the one acquiring has moved to a new city or state, had a change in medical
insurance that his or her current physician does not accept, or a patient’s
current physician is either retiring or moving to another location that is too
far.  Once the consumer’s problem is
identified, the next step is to acquire information on other physicians. 

The final stage
is post-purchase behavior, which involves the behavior and experiences of
consumers after a purchase is made.  In brief,
consumers compare a product or service with previous expectations or perceived
performance, and are either satisfied or dissatisfied.  The post-purchase phase of the
decision-making process is essential for marketers to ensure that consumers are
satisfied after the purchase. (Ramesh, 2008, p.3), and the importance of the
post-purchase satisfaction is that suggestions are provided about the
trustfulness of the product by appreciation the performance (Bao, 2008). 

Once the best
option is identified, “The consumer makes the purchase, selecting one brand or
alternative over the others” (Berkowitz, 2010, p. 130).  This is the fourth stage, where purchases
take place.  For this stage, it is vital
for marketers to be attentive of influencing factors, and be knowledgeable of how
to shape those factors to have a competitive advantage.  The goal of marketing is not to attract
one-time consumers.  It is used to
increase consumer desirability, attract new consumers, keep repeat consumers,
and match products or services to the needs of consumers.  Anything a marketer can do to simplify
purchasing will help attract new and repeating consumers. 

Evaluation of
alternatives is the fourth stage.  During
this stage, assessments of current resources are made, the pros and cons of
each alternative are weighed, and an understanding of new products or services
are gained.  The evaluation of products
and services are based on varying qualities, and whether the benefits a
consumer seeks can be delivered.  To put
it simply, consumers consider the relative importance of each attribute of the product-service
mix” (Reid and Bojanic, 2009, p.39).  This
stage not only allows consumers to distinguish the trade-offs of each
alternative, it also allows consumers to choose the best option to meet a need.

Once a problem
or need is recognized, consumers tend to start an information search for
alternative selections to resolve the problem or fulfill a need.  The process of searching take place in the
second and third stages (internal and external information search) of the
decision-making process.  When consumers
identify alternatives from personal recollection or knowledge of a service or
product, it is known as internal information search.  On the other hand, during external
information 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. 

recognition is the first stage of the consumer decision-making process, and per
Perreau (2012), it is the most important of all the stages.  At this stage, consumers must become aware of
a problem or need, which warrants consumers to take the next step.  Problem recognition is regarded as the purchase
decision initiative, and is the beginning of all consumer-activities.  Neal and Quester (2006) state that the
recognition 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 recognized
in most models of consumer behavior (Howard 1989; Engel, Blackwell and Miniard
1986; Wilkie 1990), since other stages of the consumer decision-making process are
chronologically 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 recognition

The consumer
decision-making model, also known as sales funnel, consists of six stages, and
explores the internal and external factors that influence decision-making.  Understanding the process model is very
important for both medical and non-medical organizations, and enables marketers
to design effective marketing strategies. 
Consumer decision making depends on several factors: (1) cultural, (2)
social, (3) individual, and (4) psychological, and the decision making-model
consists of the following stages. 

   The process in which consumers gather and
assess information, and make selections among several services, organizations,
and goods is called the consumer decision-making process.  This process describes the journey of a
consumer’s purchase of goods or selection of services.  Depending on a consumer’s opinion, needs, and
expectations, the consumer decision-making process can be either simple or
complex.  Since the 1960’s, models of
consumer decision-making have continued to develop to gain clarity on consumer
behavior and what influences the decisions made by consumers. 

Decision-Making Model

Categories: Decision Making


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