Optometric Management Tip # 536   -   Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Have You Been to a Physician Lately?

I had a routine exam at my physicianís office last week. Whenever I visit a doctor, I find myself doing a mini-practice management analysis. Itís quite educationalÖ usually about what not to do in my practice. Customer service is severely lacking in most small businesses, but in health care it can be close to non-existent. Unfortunately, it is really pretty easy for any doctorís office to become complacent and not realize service has slipped.

The positive side of this sad state of affairs is that your practice can stand out as stellar if you do a reasonably good job with patient satisfaction. Excellent customer service can be a very strong competitive advantage and it doesnít cost anything! Great service can truly result in many referrals of new patients, very quickly.

Here is a review of my recent patient experience. See if any of these situations can happen in your office:

As I left the office, I noticed that the waiting room was packed with people. Some were actually standing. I was struck by a major difference between primary care medicine and optometry, which actually explains why customer service was lacking. This medical office has more patients than it can handle. It would still be nice if the staff and the practice cared about patientsí needs, but from a business standpoint, it really was not necessary.

Optometry generally does not enjoy that strong patient demand. That is just the hand we were dealt. We have to create our own demand. We have to earn it with great customer service, advanced technology and excellent products.

Best wishes for continued success,

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