I know what you’re thinking, “what lesson could Joe possibly find in a bathroom?” To start, it wasn’t in a bathroom, it was en route to a bathroom. Trust me on this one, give me a few minutes of your time, read to the end and you’ll understand what I’m getting at (it’s a short read).
It was the last night of our vacation in Turks and Caicos and we were out to dinner at a restaurant called “Seven.” Following the order of our food, I took the napkin from my lap and placed it on the table. I stood up, pushed in my chair and went off in search of a restroom. With slow steps and my head on a swivel, it must have been apparent that I was looking for something. Before I could ask for directions, a staff member stepped into my path, looked me in the eyes and with a warm smile and soft voice, asked, “are you looking for the restroom?”
I replied “yes” and what happened next took me back.
Having asked for directions to the restroom many times in my life, I expected this experience to be no different from the rest. I expected this staff member to point me toward the restroom and that would be it.
However, this was different.
Instead of pointing, this man waved his arm over his shoulder and told me to follow him. He began to walk and I began to follow. We navigated through a crowded dining area and ended just left of the bar where I expected him to leave me a few steps short of the bathroom.
I was wrong again.
Instead of just showing me to the bathroom, this man walked me to the door, grabbed the handle, opened it, smiled and told me to enjoy the rest of the evening. It might not sound like a big deal, but to me it is.
To me, this small act is what customer service is about.
This man took the time to go out of his way to do something that left a lasting impression on me. His willingness to help and overwhelming kindness was contagious and the fact that he walked the distance of the restaurant to hold a door for me was impressive. He went above and beyond what he needed to do and I like that.
Maybe it’s because I just finished reading a book on customer service, but I had an excellent dining experience at this restaurant because the service was exceptional even down to the man who took the time to walk me to the restroom and hold the door. Some people might disagree with me, however, I consider the profession of physical therapy one that is rooted in customer service and I intend to go above and beyond for my patients in all that I do.
Indulge me for a moment as I get specific to the profession of physical therapy. It stands that patients seek (outpatient) physical therapy services because they have are in search of help, guidance, answers, etc.. There might not be a physical product being sold, however, patients are seeking something in exchange for payment. Therefore, the patient is a customer. It is my humble opinion, that the profession of physical therapy should be centered on serving the needs and wants of the people who walk in the doors (exceptions exist) and that is why the concept of customer service is applicable. If nothing else, from a business standpoint, exceptional customer service makes sense.
Think about this blog.
One man held the door for me and I wrote this blog which will be seen by thousands of people. If one of those thousands of people ever finds themselves in Turks and Caicos (it could happen) and this person chooses to eat at this restaurant (it’s expensive) because of this blog (it’s possible), then this restaurant would stand to make upwards of $50 all for an act of kindness.
I know that some of you might not think that the concept of customer service applies to you, but it does, and let me tell you why. Deep down at it’s core, customer service is about serving others; it is about treating people how they want to be treated and that is something that we should all be striving to be better at. It might be at your place of work, it might be with your friends, it might be with your spouse, the list goes on and on but the point is this; service underlies what it means to be human and if you want to serve the people in your life, you need to give them the best version of yourself. So in all that you do, go the extra mile. Walk someone all the way to the bathroom and leave them with a warm smile.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT