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John Marvin

You Already Own the One Piece of Equipment That Can Make You a Ton More Money

You’re just not using it effectively.

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“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.” — Phaedrus

EVERY PRACTICE HAS at least one. Most have several. Yet, the telephone is the most misunderstood piece of equipment in an optometry office or optical store. My appreciation for the importance of the telephone was impacted when our organization began recording office phone calls generated from internet platforms. Here are a few things I learned:

Most new patients start their experience with an office on the telephone.

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It is easy to assume that with all of our digital devices, people would be scheduling appointments online. In my experience, that assumption is wrong. Today we schedule over 300,000 appointments each year through our internet platforms and over 95% of these are done over the telephone. The reason is that over 80% of all internet interactions with our organization are done on a smart phone. Have you tried to complete an online form using your phone typing feature?

Two-thirds of calls into an office are not about scheduling an appointment.

The majority of these include inquiries about whether or not eyewear is ready to be picked up, directions, sales reps and office hours. Only one-third are calls to schedule an appointment. How many hours a day are you paying someone to explain information that could be provided in a less expensive way?

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Less than half of those calling to make an appointment actually do so.

This was a startling discovery. What does it mean that fewer than 50% of those calling to make an appointment don’t do so? By taking the time to understand why, you are taking the first step in understanding your telephone. If handled correctly, your telephone is a profit generator. If you are deceived by its appearance, it’s a very expensive piece of office equipment.

Most offices devote the fewest resourcees to training the phone answerer.

Answering the phone usually falls to an entry-level employee earning the least per hour. Yet, all of your office’s financial opportunity comes through them. If the person does a poor job, you get less return on what you pay opticians, ophthalmic technicians, associate doctors and the profit earned by the owner.

Raising the productivity of the phone answerer has direct revenue impact.

An established optometry office will increase their annual revenues by $72,000 for every 10% increase in new patients who schedule an appointment. That is if 5 out of 10 people who call to make an appointment actually do versus four. You haven’t spent any more money to increase that revenue, in fact, people are literally calling your office each day wanting to give you that revenue. You can then turn your telephone into the one piece of equipment that generates more revenue than any other.

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John D. Marvin has more than 25 years of experience in the ophthalmic and optometric practice industry. He is the president of Texas State Optical and writes about marketing, management and education at the practiceprinciples.net blog. You can email him at [email protected]

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