Recently I bumped into an osteopath who long ago treated me for a debilitating back problem.
At the time my back was so bad, I would spontaneously fall while walking. The pain so acute, I could hardly carry my new-born daughter. It was having a seriously detrimental effect on my life.
So when I heard this osteopath could ‘ease my symptoms, if not cure the problem‘, I immediately went to see him.
Money? No object. What price a pain-free day?
At his ‘surgery’ on London’s famous Harley Street it was quiet, professional, with a warm, comfortable atmosphere created by a gently burning log-effect gas fire.
My initial appointment was to last one hour and cost double the normal rate so we could discuss important preliminary stuff.
Frustratingly this mostly consisted of him ascertaining that, yes, I did have private health cover and that it would cover me for up to 10 appointments.
Finally after 30 minutes of wasted time we got to the bit I was interested in – the treatment.
Ok, fix me. I’m ready. Free me from the pain. PLEASE.
What happened next wasn’t what I expected.
Lying on my front, he placed at the base of my spine what felt like a small hot water bottle under a towel. He held it there for a couple of minutes then got up and walked out of the room.
What? I was comfortable but this this wasn’t the hands-on manipulation I expected.
20 minutes later and with just 5 minutes to go for the appointment, he reappeared in the room, took away the thing on my back and then proceeded to do ‘the treatment’.
Wow. What a result. Within 2 minutes he unlocked my back. The pain relief was immediate. This guy is amazing. A genius. A magician.
I can carry my baby daughter again, hop on my motorbike, mobile as a kid. Well, yes…and no.
I was better. Definitely. But not cured.
“Come back in a week” he said. And I did. For a 30 minute appointment, 5 minutes of getting changed, 20 minutes of his ‘hot bottle’ treatment and 5 minutes of actual manipulation.
I was beginning to get the sense that I was being “worked”. He was spreading the treatment out for as long as my insurance would pay. I didn’t get a good feeling about it and as much as I was happy that the pain was eased…this wasn’t what I wanted.
Fast forward a few months and a further 5 appointments. I’m chatting with a friend about back issues (as you do), “I know a great osteopath” he said. So I thought, why not, it has to be better than my guy.
This time, the new osteopath did various manipulations up and down my spine for the full 30 minute appointment and by the time I left, I felt miles better and the results last much longer.
In fact, I saw him 3 more times before he said “you don’t need to come back and see my unless you get back trouble again”.
That was nearly 20 years ago and I never needed to go back.
I’m not saying that I didn’t make changes to my lifestyle to address the cause, once the symptoms had been treated. I did. But the point is, I could tell I was being played for the money by the first guy, whereas osteopath number 2 actually cared about getting me results in the shortest possible time.
There was probably little, if any, technical difference between the two. They both knew their stuff. But what made all the difference to me, one of them cared about the outcome that mattered to me. His client, his patient. Our objectives were aligned. The other one?
He only cared about the money. He was faking it. And I knew it.
Since then, I must have recommended the good osteopath, 12, maybe 15 time? And if I had to go back, who would I unreservedly book with?
People aren’t stupid. They know when they’re being played. And they know when they’re in trustworthy hands. Literally.
With this in mind, consider your golf club…
How aligned are the interests of your ‘business’ with those of your customers (or patients)?
Hospitality is like healthcare, you know when someone genuinely cares.
So when you’re next thinking about your ‘service’, think about:
1. what really matters to your customers
2. don’t forget their best interests
Because unlike successful osteopaths, satisfied golfers will come back.