Optometric Management Tip # 81   -   Wednesday, August 06, 2003
What has been your experience when visiting a doctor's office?

If you're like me, you may find yourself doing a mini-consulting analysis when you visit your physician's office as a patient. It provides an interesting real world twist when the optometrist becomes the patient. And if your experience is like mine, the "customer service" aspects of health care today is absolutely horrible. There are a few exceptions, but generally speaking, there is little regard for the patient's comfort and convenience. Customer service in medicine may have gotten worse because of the squeezing of fees by managed care, or because many primary care practices are so busy.

Let's take a look at a typical visit to my family physician's office. So what's the point of this story? It's easy to let our own practices get like this in some ways, and it's easy to overlook it if you aren't the patient. Remember that marketing is identifying and satisfying patients' wants and needs. The medical office I described above has allowed its procedures to evolve based on the practice's wants and needs, or the doctor and staff's wants and needs.

If a practice is extremely busy and efficient, marketing and customer service may not be that important to its success. But most optometry practices offer many elective services and most need to be busier. If you work on customer service, just think how good your practice can look in comparison to the other health care practices out there. Patients will notice and they will talk about it.

Best wishes for continued success,

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