Usually individuals are satisfied with a service if they believe they are receiving high-quality benefits. However, research discovers this relationship becomes complex when the “service” is an activity that may not be desired.

The events, called “negative service environments,” are services that consumers would prefer not to have to use, such as health screenings or diagnostic tests.

A paper in the Journal of Service Research explores this relationship by studying the relationship between stress and accuracy beliefs in the context of mammography — a “negative” service.

They found that women coming in for a routine screening test felt more stress as their belief in the efficacy of mammography increased.

Meanwhile, those coming in for a diagnostic test felt less stress as their belief in the efficacy of mammography increased.

These findings suggest health care providers in hospitals should consider a patient’s stage in the testing process to determine how to best manage the patient’s experience and reduce stress levels.

The article suggests separating routine screening patients from diagnostic screening patients, so doctors and nurses can better tailor communication to these different patient groups.

For routine screening patients, service providers should help reduce stress for patients by playing soothing music or providing distracting magazines in the waiting room.

For diagnostic screening patients, service providers should focus on reducing patients’ uncertainty by having information on the testing process, the latest advances in preventive care, or the kinds of treatment to which it leads available in the waiting room.

Source: Sage Publications