Optometric Management Tip # 84   -   Wednesday, August 27, 2003
The Power of a Busy Practice

Did you ever go into a restaurant around lunchtime and find it nearly empty? I don't know about you, but I would wonder what is wrong with the place. Conversely, when I see a restaurant with lots of customers, I'm immediately impressed and curious. If I'm seated quickly, receive great service, and the food is good, the restaurant has a customer for life. I'm very likely to return often and to tell others.

So it is with an optometric practice. There is real practice-building power in a busy office. Patients form impressions of your practice based on what they see during their visit. Since they can't understand all the technical aspects of optometry, they judge it by the things they do understand. If patients see several other patients coming and going, they assume this obviously successful practice must be doing something right. Business begets more business. If patients come to your office and rarely see other patients, however, it may actually create a negative impression.

But how do you get the business in the first place? What if you are not all that busy? I would still design the practice as if it were busy. I would use compression to see whatever patient volume I had in a shorter period of time. Rather than spread a small number of patients throughout a whole week, I'd see them in 2 or 3 days, delegating some tasks to staff and using automated instrumentation. Compression does two good things for the practice: (1) it makes the practice appear busier than it really is, which is good for the practice image, and (2) it allows the doctor to utilize the remaining days of the week when patients are not scheduled to work on marketing, staff training and management the practice.

Best wishes for continued success,

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