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A first impression is a lasting impression

By Dr. Arian Fartash

Will Rogers said it best: “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Walking into your office for the first time, how will your patients feel? You can give the best exams in town, but if the patient perceives your office as subpar, they’ll most likely rate your stellar exam the same. When an office is updated and chic, patients hold their standards of what to expect higher. So, take a step back and look around your office.

If your office could use a little pick-me-up it doesn’t have to be expensive. Updating your office can be as small as decluttering or slapping on a coat of fresh paint. If your budget allows taking things further, you can make your office more current with a full remodel. Any change will benefit you in the long run.

Team work makes the dream work

Before your patient sits in the exam chair, they are going to interact with your staff. Your staff includes everyone from the person who answers the phone, front desk, pre-tester, and optician. The patient experience is not just an individual effort; it takes a team to create a positive feeling.

A lot of times the Doctor is unaware of how the patient experience is outside of the exam room, unless in the rare occasion the patient personally discloses this. Before you get blindsided by a poor online review, take the time to educate your staff about what they can do to better the patient interaction. Some easy examples are for staff members to greet patients with a warm welcome, no matter how the day is going. Offer the patient a glass of water while they wait and be transparent about how the schedule looks like that day. Running behind? In most cases when you let the patient know, it’s not a problem. While they are waiting, give them access to free Wi-Fi or walk them to browse the dispensary before they are called back.

A patient’s perspective is your reality

There is no doubt you are a master at your craft. However, from a patient’s perspective it can be quite different. For example, a patient comes in for a routine eye exam complaining of computer eye strain. During the exam you notice high eye pressures, a visual field defect, and large cup to disc ratio. Like the exceptional Doctor you are, you start a treatment plan for a glaucoma work- up, give a great explanation of your findings, and schedule the patient to return. Although you have found a potential sight- threatening problem, the patient heard nothing about their computer strain. The patient leaves feeling like their needs were not met and has a sour look on how the exam went. Remember to listen to your patient. Always address their main concerns in addition to giving your best exam. They’ll walk out of there feeling like they’re important and understood.

 The best business plan is a happy patient

Up to this point, the patient has had the best experience. The office motif is inviting, the staff is friendly and helpful, the exam was 110%, and now the patient has returned to pick up their newly- purchased glasses. Whether the patient paid $900 or $20 out-of-pocket for their spectacles, each dispense should be treated equal.

When you treat each pair with the same level of respect, in turn, your patient will feel the same. Don’t rush the process. Sit the patient down and present their eyewear on beautiful dispensing trays; they don’t need to be expensive, but should be clean and presentable. Have the patient try on the frame while sitting comfortably and make necessary adjustments for the perfect fit and don’t forget to compliment the patient. Leaving, the patient not only loves their new eyewear, but has had a completely amazing experience that not only will they be coming back, but they will also tell their friends and family about it.  

In summary, creating a remarkable experience in your office is what makes their exam memorable and personal. These are the qualities that set your office apart from others in your community as well as online retailers. Patients have a choice of where to get their eye-care needs- make their choice an easy one.


Blogger Bio
Dr. Arian Fartash is a working Optometrist in California. In addition to providing eye care to her patients, she bonds with a broader audience on her Instagram, @glamoptometrist. She also has a social media company, helping other doctors around the country connect with existing and future patients

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