We’re thrilled with our new clinic. We’ve been able to offer better (and more) services because of the extra space, and the goldfish effect really seems to be kicking in.

One of the small drawbacks, though, is that our patients have to pay for parking – ouch. It was one of those little things that didn’t sit well with me, and it didn’t seem to fit our vision for the clinic.

What to do? Pay for it, of course. We put a small bowl on the counter full of change, with a sign reading “Please allow us to pay for your parking.” We encourage patients can help themselves to whatever they need.

It made sense for us – the cost of a visit in our office is relatively high, so paying a little bit for our patients to park is easy and seemed like the right thing to do.

When service becomes more than service

It turns out that people love it. What’s interesting, though, is that most patients comment on how nice it is but don’t actually take any money.

What’s really wonderful though, is how many people put money in to pay for other people’s parking! I love it. People keep tossing in change “For the next person.”

For some reason, our little parking dish seems to spark a little something. That little spark, though, is more than just pay-it-forward niceness. It adds one more little bit of positive joy to the customer experience, too, and sends people out the door feeling that much better.

Our decision to provide a little extra service to our patients seems to just bring out the shiny side of folks, and I like that. A lot.

Are you missing any opportunities to help your clients shine by serving them better?

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8 Responses to “The Unexpected Joys of Great Service”

  1. Bonnie says:

    What a great idea! And what a community building idea as well.

    I also wanted to comment on your beautiful business blog–that is great looking!

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks, Bonnie! The practice site uses a premium WordPress theme – I’ll be doing a post on it at some point, too.

  3. Jenn Givler says:

    I love Bonnie’s insight that this is a great community building idea – I agree! What a cool response you’re receiving from something so simple.

  4. Mark Meerali says:

    Patients like to see someone who is along the same race/culture lines as them. How do you get over that or get ‘other’ patients to see you?

  5. Dan says:


    To be honest, it’s something we ignore. We pursue the best care and service possible, and hope that transcends any other boundaries in the long run.

    If you feel like a “fish out of water” in the community where your practice is based, I’d suggest carefully nurturing professional relationships with other practitioners in your area. Their referrals will go a long way toward breaking down barriers. It can take time, but it’s a worthwhile investment.

  6. We have been handing out quarters for ten years (though not in a bowl, and I love that idea): It does surprise me how many people don’t use the quarters!! They often tell their friends that we have them, but don’t actually use them. I am going to use the bowl to see what kind of interaction follows. Thanks so much.

  7. […] 52: We’ve been rolling out a big service push at our office – it started back with the parking bowl phenomenon, really, but our niche has always been high service, and I want to take it up a notch. We’ve […]

  8. […] pick the latter. Why? Because I get to choose. I get to decide whether to a) obsess about the parking problem or b) focus on things that matter […]

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