What Does The Term Mean To You?
I was speaking recently to one of my colleagues within the profession here recently in reference to an ongoing argument about retail versus destination businesses. I have said for at least three years that our profession is becoming more retail and we should begin to site our practices with this in mind. My thoughts are that we are moving towards a High Street business model.
He disagrees and feels we are still a destination business and should sit our practices in accordance with that concept. I feel that at this moment we are both correct, the tipping point from destination to high street has not occurred just yet. However I feel that any practice that does locate on the high street and use some of the high street retail strategies in design and deployment will still do well.
I think that this type of location can and will shave a large sum of money of your marketing budget because of the effect of passing trade and awareness because of location. Two of my customers are undertaking this strategy at present, one of them who has undertaken the move is already seeing an increase in business. The second is yet to open the new practice so we will see what happens there.
But I digress, something became clear during our latest debate, my term of reference for high street retail and his where completely different. My thoughts are a sophisticated Practice which deploys retail displays and signage at the front of house with a comfortable modern waiting room utilizing the most modern digital display techniques and a state of the art backroom clinic area.
He thought I was talking about a relatively modern practice, with deployed retail concepts, selling cheap and cheerful instruments with a view to maximizing volume. It was only then that I understood his reluctance to consider the concept. When I explained my conceptual thinking behind the deployment and the end results I thought could be achieved, he warmed to the idea.
I thought about the conversation today again and it made me wonder what you the readers of this blog think. Firstly when you hear high street retail hearing health practice, what jumps to mind? Secondly what do you think about the same concept when it is framed in the terms of reference I use. Thirdly and most importantly, where do you stand on the debate? Do you think we are still a destination model or indeed are we ready to move to a high street retail model?
Lastly do you think there is another model altogether we should follow?
I think the original term “high street retail” made me think of a Mall atmosphere, not as much the modern clinical set up you explained. I have always felt that our offices should have a more high tech/modern atmosphere that displays hearing healthcare and equipment openly. I believe that if you can demonstrate and display new technology in a way that isn’t intimidating people will understand the recommendations and the reasoning behind it. (Not a cold modern look; but clean and well thought out)Looking at any professional we visit; We should ask ouselves if the office looks like it is stuck in the 80’s “Does this person even know about new technology???and how much based on the surroundings can he possibly use?” Our patients rely on our judgement to help them and presentation is part of the package. We are judged on the overall experience. The “Speed of Trust” was a book written a few years ago; I liken some of our issues with Retail/destination location to some situations in there.
I agree about the cold modern design, I think that the window should be retail in all that the concept means. The reception area should be modern comfortable with the decor and furnishings picked to re-assure and comfort.
The decor and furnishings should be sophisticated and give the perception of quality. The reception desk should be well designed and modern with the practices logo and name either on the leading front of the desk or indeed on the wall behind the desk.
The clinic area should be clearly demarcated and be just that a clinical area.