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SOCIAL: REFLECTIONS

‘DEAR LINDA’ 30 YEARS LATER

THE OPTOMETRIST WHO INSPIRED A POPULAR OM COLUMN CELEBRATES AN ANNIVERSARY

If you read Optometric Management in the late-1980s, you may recall the monthly column, “Dear Linda.” Written by then chief optometric editor Irving Bennett, O.D., these “letters” gave advice to his daughter on how to start a practice. That daughter, Linda Bennett, O.D., is celebrating her 30th anniversary in private practice this year. She has come a long way! Bennett Family Eye Care, Belmont, Mass., is recognized for its expertise, state-of-the-art technology, quality services and genuine compassion.

Here, Dr. Linda Bennett shares some of the business lessons she has learned.

IN 1987, when I entered private practice in Belmont, Mass., my goal was to see 13 patients a week. That seems hard to believe now when I see more than 13 patients in a day. (Time flies when you are having fun!) I am fortunate to still have my father to talk to about optometry. And apparently, I set a good example: Eight years ago, my daughter, Rebecca Maida, O.D., joined me in the practice. (I guess optometry is genetic in our family!)

At a staff meeting in February, Dr. Bennett’s staff surprised her with flowers and a trophy to commemorate her 30 years in private practice.

WOW FACTOR

How did my practice become successful? From the start, I always believed in giving my patients tender loving care. This has evolved into wowing them. My staff often hears me say that patients have many choices of where to get their eye care, so each of us needs to make sure that all patients leave the office wowed, not just satisfied.

While there are many ways to wow patients, I’ve found these seven to be the most important:

From the Archives

Dr. Irving Bennett reflected on the Optometric Management column “Dear Linda” in July 2011. Read it here: bit.ly/2osgHUW .

  1. Treat all patients like they are members of your family. Make all your recommendations with this in mind.
  2. Remember that they, the patients, are all related. That is, happy patients may only tell a few people about their experiences, but unhappy patients will tell many.
  3. Your goal for each patient should be to make him or her see well and comfortably. One way I do this is by performing binocular testing on every patient.
  4. Invest in your practice. For example, I have always bought something new for my practice every year. Sometimes, it is a large piece of equipment and, sometimes, it is something smaller, like new electronic near point cards. I tell patients that the “girl with the most toys wins!”
  5. Teach patients something new about their eyes at every visit.
  6. Try new things. I have always embraced technology. I try new contact lenses and new spectacle lenses when they come to market. Our patients ask us what is new because we almost always have something new for them. This makes it exciting for the patients, and it makes it more fun for me to go to work each day.
  7. Keep in touch. We mail at least two “newsy” patient newsletters every year.

Anniversaries are wonderful to celebrate, and I look forward to celebrating many more. OM

LINDA BENNETT, O.D.
BELMONT, MASS.