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CASE

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Chapter 14 Case

vant Healthcare is an international medical


stang rm based in Orlando, Florida. It
brings healthcare professionals (HCPs) from
all over the world into healthcare facilities
throughout the United States. The international medical
stang industry serves a much-needed niche by lling stang voids in the medical eld. Bringing qualied
HCPs to the United States is a complicated process. From
the time an HCP is recruited, it takes between 16 and 24
months to bring that person into the United States and
have him or her fully documented and ready to work. As
soon as an agency starts the process of bringing in a HCP,
there are great costs involved. For HCPs, there is a great
commitment of time, mostly as a result of the many documents they must submit and the dicult exams they must
prepare for. Furthermore, most agencies have the HCPs
sign a contract with signicant nancial penalties for those
HCPs who switch agencies or drop out of the process.

CUSTOMERS
One of the main customers of international medical staffing firms
is the HCPs. Even though the HCPs are employed by the medical
staffing firm, they are still seen as one of the main customers
because they are the revenue generators for the firms. Moreover,
with the shortage of healthcare professionals throughout the
United States, these HCPs have the option of working with many
different agencies.
Within the industry, there is a large problem with HCP
commitment and loyalty. This difficulty is largely due to the fact
that the HCPs do not communicate with the agency. Often the
HCPs do not voice their problems or displeasure with the medical
firms they are working for. Instead, they complain to friends and
colleagues about their dissatisfaction. They also spread their
displeasure through other means such as anonymous web blogs
like the ones listed below from the popular nurse networking
site www.allnurses.com: I would definitely stay away from
Agency X.* I have seen too many horror stories, especially from
nurses from the UK about them. They didnt deliver on what they
promise and that is a major no-no in my book. and Agency X*
are a bunch of nurse-cheating crooks. Stay away from them!
Feedback from blogs like this and negative word-of-mouth
hurt the medical staffing companies because they lose future
HCPs that would become customers. They also affect the firms

because, even with the aforementioned high switching costs,


it is not uncommon for HCPs to switch agencies. In some cases,
international medical companies are seeing 30% or more
of their HCPs leaving assignments before their contracts are
complete. Most of these firms do little but accept this dropout
and negativity as part of their operating model. They view
the complainers as thorns in their sides that will eventually go
away. Occasionally, these firms have countered these negative
sentiments with marketing campaigns in trade journals and
shows that portray their HCPs as completely enjoying their
experience. In some other cases, the international medical
staffing firms have attempted to appease the HCPs by giving
them raises and better benefits. However, in most cases, this was
not the root of the problem and only served as a temporary fix.
AVANTS CUSTOMER LOYALTY
Compared with other companies within the industry, Avants
HCPs are loyal. There are four main ways that they have
accomplished this. First, they establish very open and clear
communication about the immigration process and what
the HCPs should expect on every step of the way. Second,
Avant employs a diverse support staff that is effective at
communicating and relating to the foreign HCPs. Third, Avant
asks regularly for feedback from their HCPs on how Avant can
improve the process. Fourth, Avant works with the HCPs to
quickly identify and resolve any concerns they might have. The
net effect of all these efforts has been an extremely high level
of satisfaction and loyalty by Avants HCPs. Avant has been able
to leverage this brand loyalty to attracting many HCPs through
referrals. This loyalty has also greatly reduced the dropout or
switching of HCPs from Avant to other agencies.

Questions
1. How can Avant Healthcare further leverage its brand loyalty
from its HCPs to helping its business?
2. What is the importance of Avant proactively asking its HCPs
about possible concerns? How does this help Avant build
brand loyalty?
3. How do the international medical staffing firms that view
customer complaints as nothing more than a pain in their side
contribute to customer disconfirmation formation by their
HCPs?
4. What kinds of long-term implications can the negative wordof-mouth have on international medical staffing firms?
*Agency X has been substituted for the real name of the firm in
the all nurses blog.

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