Who Is the Customer?
By Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA
Often times we guess at what people want from us. Whether it be the best, a doctor, or a specialist in XYZ, whatever it is they want, we will so often go to any length to make sure we are that very thing—but what if we are wrong?
What if they do not want the best? Or more likely, what if they assume that is what they are getting every time they see a physical therapist anyway? What if they do not want a doctor, because their physician could not fix them to begin with? What if they do not want a specialist? What if they just want to move better?
Well, if that is what we think they want—and they really do not—then we have not only wasted our time, but we have missed an opportunity. The more we can deliver what our clients actually want from us, the more value we will produce and the richer our profession will become.
And our clients just want more of themselves.
Think about it. Do you buy whitening toothpaste because whiter teeth make your food taste better? Is it because the ingredients are safer or more effective? No. You buy whitening toothpaste because you feel like whiter teeth will make you more attractive or beautiful. The toothpaste helps you be that more ideal version of yourself.
Would you buy a sports car because you want to quickly race to work in the morning? Is it so you can outrun criminals or jump over gulches when the bridge is out? No. You buy a sports car because it makes you feel sporty. In this case, sporty would be closer to that more ideal version of yourself.
So, why does someone come to physical therapy? Is it because their physical therapist has an alphabet soup of credentials behind their name? Is it because their physical therapist has 25 years of experience? No. Someone comes to physical therapy because they want to be the more ideal version of themselves. The version that moves better, has less pain, and can do more things.
By focusing always on them and what we can do to help them get there, we remove a laundry list of distracting elements that get in the way of a very simple truth—that people care about themselves. So let us be sure they know we can take them there.
Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, lives at the intersection of physical therapy and entrepreneurship, spending his time helping physical therapists build and operate successful practices through his company, Vantage Clinical Solutions. He specializes in marketing, finance, and business planning, and authors and speaks regularly for the APTA and PPS. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.