Independent retailers continue to gain popularity, often growing into multimillion-dollar companies. According to “Five Reasons The Boutique Model Is Revolutionizing The Future Of Retail” (Forbes, Nov 20, 2018),. “Small is the new ‘big box,’ and boutiques are cashing in on the market”.

91 percent of consumers say patient experience is extremely/very important to them. Many of today’s customers want to do business with small businesses run and owned by people that they can build a personal connection to. This presents a great opportunity in the Outpatient Rehab industry where most practices are smaller and have the ability to build their own “boutique” brand. Let’s start by discussing exactly what a boutique is…



  1. a shop, esp a small one selling fashionable clothes and other items
  2. of or denoting a small specialized producer or business

If you attended PPS in 2018, you had the distinct pleasure of setting foot in the Broadmoor hotel. For those who have not been there, imagine the type of hotels showcased on the old “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” television show. From the beauty of the hotel itself to the exceptional customer service provided by every single member of their staff, to the amazing amenities (including a bowling alley!), you truly felt like a valued and important person. The hotel was awarded Best Historic Hotel at the 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence. Though it’s also an expansive property and certainly not considered “small”, The Broadmoor provides an example of a great boutique experience. One that could be leveraged in the development of your own boutique brand.

When you think of successful boutiques like the Broadmoor, several things come to mind. In addition to being specialized, they create “raving fans” by providing a consistent and exceptional experience. So now that you understand more of what it means to be a boutique, interested in learning more about how to go about becoming one? Here are a few tips.

Find and Validate your Why

Like Simon Sinek says in Start with Why, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Ensure that your practice aligns with your vision, mission and core values (your “why”). Create an environment through your culture and facility that speaks to your passion and purpose as a PT. Some steps to take here include, reviewing and/or creating an accurate and uplifting written vision, mission, and core values. Next, check to ensure these resonate with your team and they are all bought into them. If you have members of your team who don’t believe in the same things as you, the experience for your patients will be inconsistent.

Physical Environment

Once you’ve confirmed alignment of your mission, vision and values with your staff you will next want to validate that your practice is providing a consistent physical experience that aligns with that vision. Your facilities set the tone and energy for patients, therapists and staff.

Studies have consistently shown that organizations that invest in their physical environment see immediate and lasting improvements. It is critical to make sure your clinic is welcoming and inviting. Some things you can do include having the proper lighting, new and updated furniture, maintaining a clean reception area, and selecting artwork and aesthetics.

One of the added bonuses of upgrading your physical environment is the positive impact it can have on your staff. Unhappy workers cost the US between $450M and $550M in lost productivity each year. Creating a welcoming and enjoyable environment can help therapists feel connected to their work, thereby preventing burnout and improving retention.

Leverage “The Power of Moments”

Studies show that people remember events for their main components, peaks, pits and transitions. The best companies attempt to create more peaks (high points), fill Pits (low points) and acknowledge Transitions (Milestones and major events). Dan and Chip Heath’s book, The Power of Moments, identifies four characteristics of memorable moments:

Elevation – Moments that lift us out of the “every day” to transcend an ordinary experience

Insight – Those “aha” moments/epiphanies that rewire our understanding of the world.

Pride – Moments of achievement and recognition for our good work and achievements.

Connection – Moments that deepen our ties to other people such as working together towards a common goal, or through times of adversity.

When we understand what powerful moments are made of, we can be intentional about creating more of them. And the more you are able to leverage these defining moments to take an ordinary experience and make it extraordinary, the more your customers will love you.

Interested in learning more tips? Attend my session at CSM! Join me on Saturday, January 26th at 8:00 am to learn how you can create a boutique experience in your clinic. 


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