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Client Responsiveness for Professional Public Services: Reshaping Relationships With Voice and Choice

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journal contribution
posted on 06.06.2017, 01:09 by McGuire, Linda
Client relationships are a key issue in public and non-profit management and the language and logic of marketing underpins the idea of 'customer-focused' services. The practical concern is the widespread belief that marketing philosophy and business techniques will change the inward focus of service providers to an outward client-orientation. This paper examines the managerial implications of transferring the concept of customer relationships in a strategic marketing framework to publicly funded professional services such as health, education and community care. There are two issues in the transfer of strategic marketing to professional public services. The first is the generic attributes of strategic marketing. In theory strategic marketing changes the inward focus of professional service providers to an outward client-orientation. The second issue is the specific context of publicly funded professional services. This paper examines the specific context of publicly funded aged care in Australia's federal system. The issues around transfer relate to the `professional' and `public' characteristics of these services. In practice the complexity of purchaser-provider-client relationships leads to confusion about 'markets' and 'customers'. The marketing challenge is managing excess demand for publicly funded services in the public interest. Regulation not marketing is reshaping strategic relationships in aged care. New accountability mechanisms rely on regulation and voice more than competition and choice.


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Department of Management