Optometric Management

FEB 2017

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48 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 • O P T O M E T R I C M A N A G E M E N T . C O M BUSINESS BUSINESS STRATEGIES I RECENTLY took a cruise from California to Mexico. It was obvious that the cruise line company spent a lot of re- sources on training their em- ployees to ensure that passen- gers were well taken care of. Yet, during four days of overwhelm- ing positivity, two instances stood out as negative and memorable — and I'm sure they went unnoticed by the cruise line. Worse, at their core, both instances were related. NOT GONE, BUT FORGOTTEN First, on the day before disem- barking, the steward knocked and asked whether she could put ex- tra sheets and towels in the room. I thought that was a nice ges- ture, until she said, "ank you! It's going to be really busy aer you leave, and this will save me some time." Next, an announcement ex- plained the disembarking process and timetable. e announcer was pleasant, friendly and gave easy, precise directions. So far so good. Until, "We'd really appre- ciate it if you stick to the disem- barking schedule, since we have less than a day to turn the ship around for our next cruise." What? I'm not off the ship yet and you're already thinking about the next group of passengers? PRACTICE APPLICATIONS e key point here is that pas- sengers care about their cruise experience — not the cruise line's efforts to provide that experience. e same principle applies in our practices. Patient: "Why do these frames cost so much?" Optician (bad answer): "Yeah, well our overhead contributes to the cost of frames, and it's really gone up a lot in the last few years." Optician (better answer): "Be- cause they have these 26 amazing features and make you look like a rock star!" e point — patients don't care about your overhead costs, like rent, insurance, etc. is is your problem, not theirs. Other examples include: 1. Practice anniversaries or events. If your dentist an- nounced an open house to cel- ebrate 10 years of practice, a remodeled office or a new hiring, would you go? For that matter, if your dentist retired and disap- peared, would it be life changing for you? Odds are it wouldn't. 2. Staff problems. It's not your patient's fault that staff showed up late for work, that this is the reason you're behind schedule, or that a newly hired technician couldn't get a good OCT image. 3. Technology problems. "Our edger broke, and your job was de- layed." One, a " job" is what your patient goes to every Monday to Friday. And an "edger?" More im- portantly — they don't care why their glasses aren't ready, but they do care that they aren't ready! 4. e success and livelihood of your practice. I hate to be harsh, but comments like, "You shouldn't buy your contact lenses online because small businesses like ours need to succeed" are in- appropriate. I'm not saying they are incorrect, just that patients don't care. Need proof? How bad do you feel when you buy any- thing online that you could have bought locally? It's not your pa- tient's fault that contact lenses and eyeglasses are available on- line. Don't make them feel bad for doing what all consumers do — look for value. OM THAT'S YOUR CONCERN PATIENTS CARE ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE, NOT YOUR EFFORTS TO DELIVER IT IT'S NOT YOUR PATIENTS' FAULT THAT EYEGLASSES AND CONTACT LENSES ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE. GARY GERBER, O.D. DR. GERBER is the president of the Power Practice, a company spe- cializing in making optom- etrists more profitable. Learn more at www.powerpractice.com, or call Dr. Gerber at (888) 356-4447.

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