May 27, 2022 Booking a Health Check-Up Online
The “Golden Week” period of extended public holidays is over, and the end of May is quickly approaching. In Japan, it’s a fairly common practice for companies to offer annual health check-ups for their employees and, at Mitsue-Links, we were advised of ours in May.
When reviewing and selecting clinics for my check-up, the usability of online booking forms brought about a sudden reflection on business competition. In this Column, I would like to touch on this.
Date Selection Fields Placed at the End of Reservation Forms
I decided to take a check-up at a clinic closest to my home. To take the examination, it was necessary to make an appointment through an online application form. So, I casually proceeded to enter the information requested in “STEP 1”, “STEP 2”, and so on.
After entering the required information, I then realized that my desired date for a check-up was not available – it had already been booked. At this particular clinic, the form had been designed so that selecting the desired date for a check-up was the final step.
My requisites for selecting a clinic were "close to home" and "availability of appointments on desired dates," but after all the effort I’d made entering my information, in the end, it was in vain. And, I must admit, I was a little disheartened.
After identifying several additional clinics that met my 'close to home' criteria, I proceeded with booking an appointment at an alternative facility – one where, at the beginning of the reservation form, I could quickly ascertain if there was availability on my desired date. After going through this process, I thought to myself that:
”next year, I`ll use this same clinic“ and,
”if this year’s clinic has no availability on my desired dates, I will make a reservation with a facility that allows me to view availability from the outset”
Users will Switch to Competing Services for the Most Trifling of Reasons
If there was only one clinic near my home that offered my desired medical examination, I would’ve had to use that facility – regardless of my doubts about the design and usability of the appointment form.
This time, however, there was more than one clinic available. So, ultimately, I chose a medical institution that had availability on my desired date.
Above, I’ve used the example of a reservation form for a health check-up, however, when selecting from services offered by several providers, regardless of the industry or market concerned, "the psychology of choice" may well apply.
In markets where there is a high demand for a certain service, but the market is non-competitive, consumers will use said service even if their experiences leave them feeling dissatisfied. This is because if they require the service offered, then they have no choice but to use it.
However, when competing services exist, as in my case, consumers can, taking into account factors such as ease of use and availability etc., select their preferred vendor.
So, regarding services, unless consumers are highly attached to their current provider or related persons, once dissatisfied, they will not hesitate to consider whether better, easier-to-use alternatives exist. If consumers find the new service to be improvement, they will switch and may not look back.
I believe that for consumers to continue choosing a certain service, it is important, from the user's perspective, to constantly improve provision.
What We Can Do for Our Service Users
We have our own competitors, our “Entry Form Optimization (EFO)” service is one such example. So, to maintain a competitive advantage, we are constantly working to improve our own services in order to better satisfy our customers.
- For our clients, we must always ask ourselves “what value must we continuously provide and how do we maintain high satisfaction levels?”
- To better satisfy the users of the websites that we develop, we must ask ourselves “in what ways can we improve operation?”
In closing, even in our daily life, such as the action of reserving a health check, there are many facets that we can pick-up, consider and learn from. Going forward, while being aware of everyday situations, I would like to work towards continued service improvement.
For more information on our services, timeframes and estimates, as well as examples of our work, please feel free to be in touch.