As a branding expert I love the story of Australian dentist Dr Paddi Lund who coined the phrase ‘Non Critical Essentials’. He was frustrated and felt undervalued because his patients couldn’t know that his work was superior (after all who inspects their fillings or even knows what a good one looks like?). So he took action and introduced various small touches to differentiated his business from the other dentists around. On their own these changes weren’t particularly significant, but collectively they made a huge impact on the whole dental experience.
For example, he used bone china to serve refreshments; offered freshly baked buns in a waiting area that looked like a chic coffee shop; hung original art on the walls; introduced a ‘stop’ button for patients; TVs on the ceiling and private waiting rooms.
He also raised his prices significantly and naturally lost a whole bunch of price sensitive patients along the way, but he kept those that valued his superior services and were willing to pay for them. He could thus work less and earn more and he wasn’t a frustrated dentist anymore.
For me this shows the importance of making the intangible tangible and making your service stand out by getting the detail right. I believe it is worth spending time and energy thinking about how you can be great at those ‘Non Critical Essentials’.