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Manager's To-Do

See How Your Business Ranks Using Voice Search and More To-Dos for March

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WEEK 1
Feb. 27-March 4

SEO If you’re wondering why mobile phone makers are pushing voice control so aggressively look no further than the lucrative amount of “search” currently dominated by Google. Do you know how your clinic or store ranks when someone says, “Siri, where can I get my glasses repaired?” Siri defaults to Bing, while Samsung uses Samsung Browser and most other Android phones go Google. Run some tests to see where your practice appears on the spectrum.

BUYING Show season is coming (VEE starts on Mar. 31). Prepare a portfolio for prospective vendors that includes information about your practice’s history, the demographics of your market, other brands you carry, and your credit ratings. Also, include marketing and promotional campaigns you’ve done and copies of any press you’ve received. (Another reason to join the Brain Squad — hint, hint). And if you really want to go the extra mile, prepare a detailed inventory report. That will let anyone know you’re serious.

WEEK 2
March 6-11

OPERATIONS Do you have a policy for when things go wrong like double bookings, delayed delivery or botched exam results? If not, put one together now with an appropriate remedy for any distress caused. Hint: if you think local, like a restaurant gift certificate, then everyone is happy: the patient, the local business and you — thanks to the referrals you will get.

MERCHANDISING Write a designer profile for each brand you carry. Keep each on a cue card stored near every collection so your sales associates are always ready to tell the story behind the brand.

WEEK 3
March 13-18

CUSTOMER RELATIONS Struggling to beef up your customer referrals? Try positive reinforcement. When a new customer comes in, ask who referred them. Then be sure to follow up with that person with a thank you. Think a discount on their next purchase, a branded lens cleaning kit or a coffee card to a local roaster.

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OPERATIONS Get in touch with your electric company. Many offer free energy audits, giving you more ideas on how to cut down on your electrical consumption. Some water utilities do the same.

WEEK 4
March 20-25

MARKETING The next wave of holidays and milestones (Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day) is coming. Start plotting social media campaigns and in-store promotions: Flowers for moms, logo golf balls for dads, chocolate eggs for the kids.

OPERATIONS When was the last time your carpet was cleaned professionally? After a long winter, there is a good chance it’s looking less than fresh. If there’s a musty odor or stubborn splotch, it even might be time to replace it.

WEEK 5
March 27-April 1

SALES Does your after-hours phone message simply state, “Sorry, we’re closed?” That’s what sales trainer Jeffrey Gitomer calls “Doh” service. If so, re-record it to direct patients to your website, or even an emergency number on which they can contact you.

GENERAL Adjust your “In Case of Emergency” plans to appoint a “digital executor.” You don’t want to be ignoring emails or direct messages if something happens to you or your business. Authorize them to access your log-in information and spell out what you want done with each account, whether it’s providing access to loved ones or business partners, or deleting it.

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This article originally appeared in the February 2017 edition of INVISION.

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Manager's To-Do

Get Your OD’s Cleaning Those Frame Boards and More Manager’s To-Dos for February

And planning for Valentine’s Day and VEE should be well underway.

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Jan 26-Feb 1

INVENTORY Buying season is on the way (Vision Expo East starts March 27). It’s time to take a hard look at your inventory.

Feb 2-8

MARKETING Make plans to visit some local nursing homes to share the love this Valentine’s Day. Take flowers and business cards and prepare some vision-related conversational topics.

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TRAINING If your doctors do not do the frame buying, have them straighten up the frame boards at least once every two weeks. This way, they’ll become much more familiar with the product — and your frame sales will increase!

Feb 9-15

INVENTORY In the months ahead of VEE, use Pinterest to build a list of the frames you like, supported with captions that provide the model details (adding the Pinterest button to your browser will make this easier.) When you reach a vendor you’re interested in, whip out your phone and call up your boards.

MARKETING The America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest honors the country’s most innovative eyecare businesses. Enter before it closes in March: invisionmag.com/AFOR.

Feb 16-22

WEBSITE If you haven’t already, post a photo of your storefront on your website, along with text-based directions. It makes it easier for shoppers to find you and eases threshold resistance.

TRAINING Training staff on equipment and procedures always seems like a job for another day. Want an effectively run office? Today is that day.

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Feb 23-29

MARKETING Flex dollars are still out there. Keep reminding people who rolled over 2019 benefits or have spring deadlines.

FINANCES If you haven’t updated your props and fixtures for five years or more, they’re showing their age. Amortize and depreciate them as you do other equipment. Set a budget and plan to acquire new ones routinely. Discard at the first sign of overuse. Faded or dirty elements affect consumer perception.

INSURANCE Organize all insurance plan information. Current information should be in an easily accessible folder.

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Manager's To-Do

Make Your Staff Go Shopping and More Manager’s To-Dos for March

Plus see how the whole team can benefit from joining the AOA.

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Mar. 1-7

ASSOCIATIONS Recommend all staff, both opticians and paras, join the American Optometric Association, if they haven’t already. It’s easy to register, free to most if your doctor is a member, and comes with a bunch of benefits including free credits for certification renewal, access to programs and services, education and training. Next, sign them up for your state association.

STAFF It’s time for your twice-yearly employee reviews. Trainer Kate Peterson urges you to set up a professional development plan for each employee — and for yourself. “Ask what they feel they need to learn or even what they would just like to learn, then challenge them to come up with a plan to get it done,” she says. Give them a week to get it done and then work out the logistics.

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Mar. 8-14

TRADE SHOWS If you’re headed to Vision Expo East this year (starts Mar. 26), make networking your big goal, not just to solidify and build on existing relationships but to meet new people (from all sides of the industry). Scout new lines, attend lessons, but leave lots of “white time” for those serendipitous encounters that are the real catalysts of business success.

MARKETING Create a signup area on your website for visitors to provide their email addresses to receive promotions and store information via email.

Mar. 15-21

MARKETING Start plotting a trunk show for summer along with the accompanying social media and marketing promotions.

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BRANDING Add a line at the bottom of all store correspondence that says: “Shop and support local! By shopping locally, you save on emissions and help the local economy.”

MANAGEMENT Work on a “save the day” protocol for when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to and orders are delayed or a patient is double booked or whatever. A gift card that entitles the bearer to a free coffee or movie will smooth ruffled feathers.

Mar. 22-28

MANAGEMENT Bring a chair to your next store meeting and tell staff it represents the missing element from your conversations: the customer. Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos swears that the “presence” of a customer gives Amazon the confidence to innovate in a more responsive way.

RESEARCH Give each member of staff a different afternoon to shop your rivals. It’ll let you know what the competition is up to, and make your staff feel involved.

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Create Your Own Holiday and More March Events

Including capitalizing on ‘Madness’ and puppies!

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15 MARCH MADNESS, a.k.a. the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, starts today and for retailers the date’s become one of surprisingly rich potential, be it to do good, raise awareness (basketball is the leading cause of eye injuries in young males) or just leverage the general madness theme. Alpine Vision in Colorado Springs, CO, chose the first, donating a percentage of proceeds from sales during the tournament to a charity called Nothing But Nets, which fights malaria in Africa.

8 WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK comes just a month after Glaucoma Month but it’s another opportunity to get out and speak about the condition in your community. See how you can get involved here: worldglaucomaweek.org

23 Puppies were made for social media … or maybe puppies made social media? What is beyond a doubt is that NATIONAL PUPPY DAY brings the two together beautifully. Share a pic of your store mascot.

26 The staggering success of Singles’ Day in November ($30 billion in retail sales in China alone), should serve as a lesson to all retailers that dates — as goofy as they seem ­— can be unmatched marketing pegs. On MAKE UP YOUR OWN HOLIDAY DAY, give thought to what date could set your business apart; it could be an anniversary, a countdown to the sale of your 5,000th pair of contacts, or a twist on National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (an actual event in Pennsylvania) and start marketing the heck out of it.

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