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Great Space or Great Service

Dec 24, 2020

A few years ago I went to visit a friend of mine in northern California (identity and town to remain unnamed). An early adopter of Chinese medicine, he'd had a practice for many years and was quite successful, with plenty of patients, a couple of ofapprentices who rented space and copied his style, a lovely reception person, and a good location in the center of town.


Walking in, the waiting area was cozy, with nice retail displays, hot tea, articles and books to read, and a friendly greeting. But I noticed immediately, and even more so when I got treatment, that around the"edges" things were a little shabby. The carpets really needed cleaning, the lamps needed replacing, the waiting room chairs did not match, the bathroom was only barely acceptable, and a new coat of paint would not have gone amiss. Still, with a full appointment book for as many people as he wanted to treat, it was difficult to argue with his formula for success.


Recently I was reading the blog of another business success blogger, John Heckers, of Colorado BusinessMagazine. His blog for that day was about the seven deadly sins of small businesses. Here's a quote:


"Don't spend money on the flash of the office space. Spend money, time, and care for the customer. While you have to have an office that is appropriate for the business you do, I've found that most customers care more about the service they receive than how pretty the office is. Beautiful offices are aremainly for the egos of those who own the business.


This quote made me remember that visit and how, despite the slightly shabby nature of his office, this man made each patient feel so cared for and loved. I expect that many of his regular clients neither cared nor noticed much about the office space in light of his wonderful touch and bedside manner, lovely receptionist, and generally friendly, down-home feel of the overall experience.


Of course, my advice would be that a squeaky clean and pleasant, well-designed office space is almost as mandatory as a great practitioner attitude and bedside manner. I think that together, these two are major ingredients for success. But that's just me.

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