Optometric Management Tip # 4   -   Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Unleash the Telephone Tether

What took me so long to think of this? My receptionists spend many hours per day making appointments -- and as they do this, they must use a computer keyboard and mouse, look in drawers for glasses, check contact lens stock, pull files, and even hunt people down in the office. Of course, I expect all of this to be done with a cheerful, polite attitude! We recently purchased a wireless telephone headset, which plugs into one of our office phones, and assigned it to a veteran receptionist named Mary. It works so great, we are going to buy more so all business office staff can be wireless!

Mary now wanders around the office while speaking to a caller, and she is completely hands-free! This has made her tremendously efficient. It has also prevented neck aches, as she no longer tries to hold the standard telephone receiver up to her ear with her shoulder.

Mary’s co-workers kidded her at first about looking like Madonna in concert, but that is just part of the good-natured fun they enjoy. I think the look says our practice is high tech, and it impresses patients who see it in action. I love to give patients something to talk about when they go home. I did caution the staff to be extra aware of people who approach them who may not realize that they are on the phone with someone, since there is no longer a standard receiver up to the ear. A simple hand gesture to the headset, with eye contact and a nod does the trick. I did choose a “one-ear only” headset model, so the other ear is open for “in person” conversation.

There are many models to choose from, and I ended up taking a stab with an on-line company at a cost of $270. I was concerned that it might not be compatible with my multi-line business phone system, but it had easy settings for different phone brands and it worked great right away! It also had a 30-day refund policy. If you want sources, just do a search on line for wireless headsets, or try your office supply store.

As always, if you want more specific advice, e-mail me at neil@gailmard.com.
Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management