If a low cost repair service is all that you can offer your hospital, you risk becoming a commodity. Commodities are products that we buy because of their low price. They have no specialized brand recognition. In the past they were items like salt, corn, and wheat. Recently other products have been trending toward commoditization. Airlines, which once competed for business by offering amenities like in-flight meals and high quality service, are competing solely based on price. As a result, they all now offer the same services; low prices, crowded seating, a bag of peanuts and a soda. Supermarkets and drugstores offer lower priced generic brands that contain the same ingredients as the more popular brand-name products. Annual statistics show the steady growth of generic sales to the detriment of brand named products. Gasoline stations once had full time attendants who would greet you, pump your gas, wash your windshield and check your oil. To boost customer loyalty they would sometimes offer gifts of soda, mugs or glassware each time they filled your tank. As they competed more on price they reduced overhead costs by eliminating personal service. Today, there are no smiling attendants and gifts. We pump our own gas, wash our own windows and check our own oil. The consequence of this move is that most of us now have no brand loyalty. We purchase our gasoline because of a station’s price or convenient location.
If a low price is all that products offer, they sacrifice customer loyalty. If all you offer is low cost service, there is no reason for your hospital stick with you when a third party offers the same service at a lower price? The unfortunate reality is that when you compete solely on price, you enter a competition where there are no winners. If you want to maintain customer loyalty, rather than limit your efforts to low cost repairs, it would be smarter to expand your range of services. Why not ask yourself what kinds of additional services someone with your technical skills can provide?
Hospitals need people who can assess new technologies and their potential impact. They need people who can evaluate devices in terms of how well they meet nurses’ and physicians’ needs. They need people who can keep them apprised of new developments. You have the technological skills to be a part of this, but if all you are is a commodity; you are limiting your potential growth and true value to your institution.
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