By Stacy M. Menz, PT, DPT, PCS
This issue of Impact focuses on the customer. In the physical therapy profession, regardless of our practice areas, each patient represents a unique set of needs and circumstances that must be looked at as a whole. Only in this way can we provide true customer service that will keep our customers coming back and prompt word-of-mouth referrals.
For example, customers from a lower-income area who may lack resources for transportation to therapy and struggle with scheduling difficulties will have different needs than customers who live in an area with a higher median income. Demographics, culture, religion, ethnicity, economics, weather, community resources and more also come into play and must be taken into account when assessing customers’ needs.
This attention to the customer is what makes us true caregivers. We are not merely business owners or technicians. We look not only at the physical treatment but at the whole picture; we treat the person not just the torn ligaments. Didn’t we get into this business not only out of our fascination with the human body and its potential but also because we care?
As you know, the May issue was on social media. While the how-to’s of social media cover the basics—how to create a Facebook business page or Twitter account, the details of how we execute our social media strategy must be shaped by who we define as our customer. We all want to create an experience that is individualized to the people our practice serves.
This issue has some great articles about the customer. Take a minute now, before reading further, to define your own customer. Keep your unique customer in mind as you are reading, so that you will be formulating ways to implement the great ideas in this issue as you read. Take notes or make a voice memo on your phone. This focus on your customer will make it that much easier to implement and foster ideas from this issue.