Article

BUSINESS: PERSONNEL POINTERS

MYSTERY SHOP YOUR STAFF

GAIN FIRST-HAND INSIGHT INTO YOUR PRACTICE’S SERVICES

WE OFTEN think if our sales are growing, schedules are full and we haven’t received complaints, everything must be good. Think again. People do not always vocalize their complaints. Consider the last time you received sub par customer service, did you go to the manager to voice your dissatisfaction? You may not have. The same applies to optometric practices; you could be losing potential business and not know it.

Practice owners gather valuable information from mystery shopping programs. Also, when staff realize they are being shopped and measured it creates a new standard of expectations.

Here are three forms of mystery shopping to gain information on the service in your practice:

1 PROFESSIONAL MYSTERY SHOP

Schedule a series — one per quarter — of full mystery shops that include the shopper having an eye exam and going through the process of choosing eyewear.

To find a mystery shopping company in your area, type “mystery shopping service” in your favorite search engine. You will need to give the mystery shopping company a complete list of what you want the shopper to look for. Here are a few ideas:

  • Was I greeted immediately upon entering the practice and with a friendly, warm welcome?
  • Was I told to sit in the waiting room or was I invited to browse in the optical while waiting?
  • How long did it take from the completion of pre-testing to see the eye doctor?
  • During the exam, did the eye doctor explain why I need an annual eye exam?
  • Did the eye doctor hand me off to an optician or eyewear consultant upon completion of the eye exam?

2 TELEPHONE MYSTERY SHOP

The telephone is still the gateway to the optometry practice. Previous and potential patients reach us more than 85% of the time via the telephone, according to Nancy Friedman, “The Telephone Doctor.” We lose 200 patients a year on average in the typical practice to inquiries not being answered properly.

Here a few tasks to monitor on a telephone shop:

  • How many rings before the phone was answered?
  • How was the greeting (friendly, warm), what was the greeting (“Good Morning, ABC Optometry”), and was the name of the receptionist used?
  • Was I put on hold? If yes, was I asked for permission to do so? How long was I on hold?

3 ONLINE MYSTERY SHOP

As online searches are the No. 1 way people are finding an optometrist, according to searchen ginewatch.com, it is imperative we gauge how well we are serving our online clientele. Items to monitor include:

  • What is the immediate feedback upon arriving at the practice website? For example, is the page layout engaging, clean and the information easy to read?
  • Was it easy to navigate and to find contact information?
  • Did I try to book an appointment online? If so, how long did it take for someone to get back to me?

NEXT STEPS

You might be surprised at both the valuable feedback you will receive after a mystery shopping experience and the immediate impact it has on your staff once they know there is a system in place to hold them accountable to a level of service. OM