By Kristen Wilson, PT, DPT
Every year on April 12 I take myself on a birthday date.
Depending on the year, the activities range from grabbing a simple cup of my favorite coffee to an elaborate day in the city complete with an art museum visit, shopping, and a champagne lunch. This birthday ritual started a few years ago during a self-proclaimed “Year of the Kristen,” 365 days devoted to understanding myself and my needs better in an effort to become a more authentic version of me. While YOTK came to a close at the end of that calendar year, I chose to keep my birthday as a miniature version of the year, a permanent reminder that when I take care of myself, I am a better everything to everyone around me.
One might wonder how this silly anecdote relates to physical therapy business owners in an issue titled Crafting the Customer Experience. So please indulge me as I dive deep. Reflect on the characteristics that exemplify a great customer experience for you. Is it the way the company made you feel? Is it the pleasantness of the staff, the welcoming feeling of the facility, the ease of accessing the service, or the way you felt when the experience ended? Perhaps it was having your needs met at a fair price. Regardless of the sensation, likely the experience you had was cultivated ultimately by someone or a group of people who desired to provide excellence, who chose to put their needs aside and prioritize another’s experience, and who felt it important to create a brand of which they were proud. Whether your interaction was with an auto-mechanic, a waitress at a restaurant, or your family physician, if you left happy, that person chose to make you feel that way, regardless of whether they were having a good, bad, or indifferent day themselves. To have that bandwidth to provide your best to another, no matter how you may be struggling or thriving, requires that you first care for yourself. As the business owner, the security that comes from self-care permeates beyond your being to those who share your workspace. They, in turn, resonate that care onto another, and the cycle of excellence begins.
This month’s issue of Impact celebrates several key tenets to cultivating a positive customer experience including Nathan Risley’s look at “Demystifying Insurance Coverage for Prospective Patients” and Sam Huey’s reflections on “Becoming Relevant.” And please don’t miss Alicia Backer’s fantastic piece on how to “Be a Community Alliance Champion,” which offers a fresh perspective on the concept of customer. Regardless of your years in business, this issue will make you think. Or so we hope.
As you take in the information presented in these pages, reflect on your bandwidth and determine whether you have taken care of yourself enough to provide the type of care you desire to others. It is easy to set our own needs aside in an effort to have energy to give to everyone else. I challenge you, this month, to choose a day and do one thing for yourself; unabashedly celebrate you. And if you choose to do it on April 12, know I’ll be toasting you at lunch. Cheers, my friends!