Optometry Practice Owner Resources

Lessons from Las Vegas

 Bethany Fishbein, OD

I just spent a few days in Las Vegas with some members of the Power Practice Team, attending Vision Expo West.

I wasn’t the one to pick the hotel and the restaurant – which means that I stayed at a place much nicer than I’d usually stay and ate at places much much nicer than I’d usually eat.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and as I took in all of the (over-the-top) opulence around me, I saw ways we can improve our practices as well.

The first thing I noticed in the higher-end hotels and restaurants was how much attention and importance was given to the little details.  From the gentleman on the floor replacing the one broken tile in the mosaic, to the 100+ year old pomegranate tree imported from China outside the window of a restaurant, to (my favorite) the tiny little upholstered stools that were immediately brought over so that my colleague and I wouldn’t have to put our bags on the floor at dinner- every little thing was thought of and important, and somehow this made it much easier to justify paying the bill when it came, as the experience was flawless as everyone was happy and relaxed.

Think about your practice.  Clients tell us they want to have a higher-end or boutique practice – but when our consultants visit our clients’ practices, we often note details that have been overlooked.  

Lightbulbs are different colors, there are water stains on the ceiling tiles, dust on the frame boards, streaks on the mirrors, and refracting desks in disarray.  Staff members have different colored zip-up hoodies and sweaters over their uniform tops, and the office smells like whatever people ordered for lunch.

If you’re reading this, I challenge you and your team to walk in through your patient entrance with the eyes of a patient who has just been to a place where these things are noticed.  What do you see?  Hear?  Smell? Bring notebooks and write down all the things you notice that can be corrected or improved.  

Then ask your staff to pay attention during the patient journey to find the little things that could make the experience better.  Are patients coming in on a rainy day looking for a place to put an umbrella?  Is there a hook for a patient’s coat?  A box of tissues that seems to just be right where they need it? (thinking about the dispensing table where they look in the mirror and first see the fluorescein dribble on their face).  

Making the details a priority is a small investment that will elevate the in-office experience tremendously.

Another thing that stood out, particularly in the restaurants, was the extreme level of knowledge of the frontline waitstaff who were helping us.  It has to be a server’s nightmare to have a vegan guest and a gluten-free guest with a soy allergy at the same table, but yet there we were.   In most “normal” restaurants, most servers will take everyone else’s orders, and then offer to ask the chef, who eventually comes out and tells you what you can or can’t have, and often delivers the meal many minutes after everyone else’s food has come out. In these next-level restaurants (and we went to three!) each server we encountered knew exactly what was in the dishes, and what to recommend to meet our needs, even offering suggestions for modifications to dishes we wanted to share.  The food was delivered with all of the other dishes and looked delicious enough for our other colleagues to want to taste.  It made a tremendous difference to us feeling like we belonged there and were welcomed guests instead of burdens on the system.

Think about a first-time patient who has a very high Rx, is terrified of drops, uses a mobility device, or has another special need that requires a little additional grace.  They must feel some trepidation coming to a new office for the first time.  Does every single one of your staff members know enough (and care enough) to go off-script to handle this situation without having to call in someone else?  If not, this is an opportunity for training.

Creating a comfortable and flawless experience is a worthwhile goal to elevate the entire practice.  Caring staff members enjoy making things better for patients, and the improvements create patients who are happier, relaxed, more willing to spend time in your office, and more willing to follow recommendations, purchase products in your offices, and refer friends and family members to do the same.

If you have big dreams for your practice that have yet to be realized: Contact us for a free consultation.