Patient as a Source of Recommendation and its Influence on Another Patient's Loyalty to the Physician: An Exploratory Empirical Study
AbstractIn an ever growing competitive business world, every entrepreneur needs to worry about his client's loyalty as they contribute directly to the profitability of the business. The present study is carried on to address mainly two issues. One, to find out whether the friends, relatives and colleagues who recommend a patient to take treatment from a particular physician, have themselves experienced the service of that physician. The findings report that about 55.16% of the recommending patients had experience with the service of the physician. The second issue addressed by this study is to know whether a patient as a source of recommendation has any influence on the loyalty of the other patient to the physician. The study confirms this aspect and it is concluded that a patient who avails the services of a physician as a result of recommendation by another patient is more loyal than one who comes through other sources. This study supports the "TieStrength Relationship Model" of Brown and Reingen (1987), and provides a theoretical extension to this model, that strong tie sources besides influencing the choice of a physician also influence the patient's loyalty to the physician. Implications for the physicians are that they should maintain and make more loyal their present patients in order to get new loyal patients. Probable extension of this research is also discussed later in the paper.
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