You’ve done your homework, right?
You’ve found the ‘magic triangle’ – a national coffee chain, a major drug store chain, and a Mac Donald’s… and if you have a Home Depot or Lowes nearby, you’ve hit one out of the ballpark! At the very least, you have assured yourself of traffic, as people will certainly pass by your door. Hopefully, you have picked a quality plaza location that gives you traffic and exposure, and the ability to put up an attractive and visible sign. The sign should clearly and concisely tell your prospective patients who you are and what you do. Having taken all of these steps, you will have enabled patients to simply get out of their car, walk in, and do business with you.
If you have chosen a site in a medical or office building, hopefully you have chosen the main floor and are visible from the elevator(s) and/or the entrance door(s). It is of great benefit to you to be seen by the patients of other doctors, dentists, and specialists passing by your doors.
Your building should have ample parking, and if it’s not free you should compensate your patients for parking costs. Above all, you should make it as simple as possible for prospective patients to do business with you.
Put your best foot forward immediately!
If you look successful, you will likely be successful; achieve the right look, and do it now. Wow them from the very beginning! You may take small steps at first, but these steps will ensure that you maximize every potential patient. When done right in the right location, the speed at which your practice will grow may astonish you.
You should be able to instantly establish an image in your patients’ minds that you are quality-minded and service-oriented, and that you and your staff care about their welfare. Additionally, everything about your office should impress; it should knock your patients’ socks off.
Promote your modern instrumentation in your examination room(s) and your pre-testing area. Make absolutely sure that the chairs you choose for waiting areas are attractive, well made, and comfortable. Everything you and your staff do should re-enforce a feeling of quality and service at your office.
Invest in your earning centers; put your money where it is going to make more money! Invest in a new office and don’t be afraid to spend. Invest at least as much money in your frame dispensary as you would on a well-equipped examination lane. As investments fare, this is one of the safest you will ever make! Where else can you be practically guaranteed a phenomenal return on your investment? The return will astonish you.
The staff you choose must be caring. With time and continuing education, they will become even more knowledgeable in their field. Your frame dispensary should be well lit, the products beautifully displayed and identified, and the selection should garner your patients’ interest immediately. Your shelves should have an excellent supply of frames, not a depleted stock like you’ve just had a sale. You need to immediately plant the seed in your patients’ minds that they do not need to go anywhere else, because they have everything they need right in front of them.
This formula is simple: Accomplish these things, and your patient will not have a single reason to go elsewhere. Just imagine retaining patients for all of your services the vast majority of the time, and what it would represent to you and your practice’s income!
Today’s modern optometric office is an investment and must be thought of in such terms. There are 4 basic earning centres in an optometric office and all of them are an investment to one degree or another:
- Contact lens dispensing
- Frame dispensing
As an optometrist, you will certainly invest in the instrumentation necessary to diagnose patients, including pre-testing instrumentation for you and your staff; you want to be as accurate as possible during testing phases. Remember, a modern examination room with excellent instrumentation and pre-testing equipment sends a strong message to your patients that you will take care of their eyes in the best way possible.
Remember too that something dramatic has happened to the eye care industry; it has become a fashion industry! Much like cosmetic dentistry impacted dentistry, the designer frame has impacted optometry.
Today’s optometrists are very aware of the impact of designer frames. It’s very simple: your patients want access to the best possible selection of designer eyewear. The glasses they choose from you are the one tangible item they will retain from their visit to your office, so they should leave as satisfied as possible.
As you go forward, I want you to remember the ‘wow factor’. It starts with a smart location choice for your office, and continues when a patient steps into your office. It must be reinforced throughout their time with you.
Please do contact me with any questions you have regarding any aspects of office design. I would be delighted to answer discuss them with you.