Article

Start With the Staff

Develop engaged staff who can share their experiences with new contact lenses and get the conversation started

Ever see the line wrap around the corner at the Apple store when the new iPhone or iPad is released? Patients today are excited by new technologies and eager to try them — this includes contact lenses. Be known in your community as the practice that is always on the cutting edge by providing staff members with firsthand experience with a contact lens. Here’s how to develop engaged employees who can share this experience and spread the word.

“YOU’RE INVITED…”

When a new contact lens becomes available, we schedule a vendor demonstration for staff. These demonstrations are mandatory and paid for all staff members, regardless of which department they work. (You never know when a patient will ask about contact lens options, so ensure all staff members are ready with an answer.) These hour-long demonstrations are usually scheduled during lunch, so as not disturb patient flow. Scheduling this time outside of patient care hours allows for discussion, and our vendors cater lunch.

“I FIND IT BEST…”

During the vendor demonstration, we first get to experience the handling of the contact lens. This can lead to insights when teaching insertion and removal techniques to our patients.

The next step is to feel a contact lens on the eye. Is the material comfortable on insertion, or does it take some time to settle? If so, how long? This information is very valuable to your practice and provides the staff with the knowledge to answer patient questions.

ACTIVE EMPLOYEES

ENGAGED EMPLOYEES IN THE U.S. AND CANADA, ACCORDING TO GALLUP’S “STATE OF THE GLOBAL WORKPLACE”

For staff members who have appropriate parameters, a full trial can lead to real-world experiences on end-of-day comfort, vision ratings, etc. We document and follow-up on these staff members’ experiences, just like we do with patients, and we include this in their records. These staff members can then share their extensive experience with patients, as needed.

ENGAGEMENT AND BUSINESS OUTCOMES

HIGHLY ENGAGED BUSINESS UNITS ACHIEVE: (AS COMPARED TO LEAST ENGAGED BUSINESS UNITS IN GALLUP’S NINTH META-ANALYSIS STUDYING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND BUSINESS OUTCOMES)

“WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?”

At the demonstration, we go over frequently asked patient questions and the best ways to answer them. Additionally, we discuss how the contact lens fits in with our overall patient care strategy and which types of patients will most benefit from the contact lens. Key points and messaging is then role played with staff members and doctors taking turns. While it can be awkward at first, this exercise has become more and more accepted and viewed as good practice for the real thing.

“I’M WEARING THE LENS RIGHT NOW!”

If the new contact lens is going to be part of your contact lens strategy, then the goal of this trial is to find the advocate in your practice to be the head cheerleader to the rest of the staff and your patients. Having an office advocate greatly improves your chance of success in implementing a new contact lens to your current strategy. Track this information to see for yourself.

At our office, we use data collected on a monthly basis from our contact lens distributer to inform us about each lens we use. Watching a contact lens rise to your top 10 used contact lenses is all the proof you’ll need! We also compare it to the top 500 offices in the U.S. We have found that anything you measure, you can improve.

“I SAW ON FACEBOOK…”

Firsthand experience with a contact lens goes a long way in recommending a patient try a new product. Utilize your staff members’ experiences to produce pictures and/or video, which can be used on your website or social media, such as your Facebook page. These messages can further market your practice as cutting edge and your staff as trusted advocates.

Additionally, staff members who are included in the process feel more empowered and engaged in your practice’s success! According to a Gallup poll on engaged employees, these employees are, “highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. They are psychological ‘owners,’ drive performance and innovation and move the organization forward.”

“WHAT’S NEW, DOC?”

By having the staff prepared to discuss a new contact lens with patients, they can be a source of encouragement and information. They can help find good candidates for the new contact lens before patients see the doctor. This leads to the best question I ever hear in my practice: “What’s new, this year? Your staff was mentioning a new contact lens.” OM