Here's Looking at You
A great idea from the archives of dailyoptician.com (usually a worthier use of 15 minutes of downtime than awkwardfamilyphotos.com): send reminder postcards personalized with a picture of the doctor “so they don’t immediately discard it as junk mail,” writes Susan Halstead, owner of Family Vision Care Center in Saratoga Springs, NY. The cards are sent one month before the appointment and followed by emails and texts.
Build a Strong Bench
Like a sports team making a run for the playoffs, you always need a deep pool of staff, or what Dr. Son Nguyen calls a “manpower bench.” Nguyen, along with Dr. Stan Yang, has built one of the fastest growing vision practices in the Bakersfield, CA, area. “We’ve had growing pains. Being understaffed is the best way to let important things fall through the cracks, burn out your staff and make those patients you worked so hard in attracting mad,” says the co-owner of Bakersfield Eye Care Optometric Center.
Some of the best local businesspeople to do a little mutual backscratching with are real estate agents. They know what parts of the community are seeing growth, can facilitate introductions to potential new customers moving into your neighborhood (think welcome packages), and can give you the lowdown on the local property market. With such thoughts in mind, the innovative ECPs at Roadrunner Eyecare in Albuquerque, NM, did an interview for the website of local realtor newmexicohomes.com that made both look good.
Highlight Local Links
Keeping it local. That’s the theme at Family Vision Care in Alma, GA, where patients are rewarded for their loyalty with gift cards to local coffee shops or boutiques, and baskets of locally crafted scented soaps. “We’re a local business and we thrive on our local patients,” says owner Dr. Blake Hutto. “Patients appreciate the special gesture and we almost always have another patient referred in from something so simple as a kind gift,” says Hutto.
Pursuit of Freedom
Something to remember for those of you who are breaking in new employees this month: It’s easier to give employees autonomy and freedom than it is to take it away. So, clearly state directions, expectations and oversight when employees are new to their jobs. Then, let autonomy and flexibility be an earned right of their performance, says Bob Nelson in 365 Ways to Manage Better.
Keep your advertising focused. Take Coca-Cola, for instance. The company owns nearly 80 different brands of soft drinks, but they’ve never run an advertisement for all of them with a catch-all claim like “Bubbly, sugar-based liquids in a variety of different tastes for all your thirst needs.” If you have three important things that you absolutely have to say ... well, then just buy three ads, says Luke Sullivan in Hey Whipple, Squeeze This.
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of INVISION.