3 Ways to Grow Your Office You Probably Haven't Thought Of - E13
The goal of any office is to see more patients and continue to grow. How we actually grow is the “million” dollar question. Traditional marketing, social media, and email blasts are popular topics on the blogs and business journals, but I am going to give you 3 non-traditional ways you can grow your office.
Market to the Patient in Your Chair
This may seem obvious, but it is more than just traditional customer service. Let me explain: word of mouth is by far the best way to gain traction and what you have with patients in the chair are willing participants that already have bought in. Take it to the next level. Some things i do in my office are:
At every glasses dispense we give them a card encouraging them to like us on social media (pick your desired platform) and tag our office with a picture of themselves wearing their new glasses. We will send them a gift card to Starbucks and it gets people talking. Everyone will tell them how much they love their new look and it helps create some FOMO (fear of missing out) and hopefully get some new patients to call your office.
Market Your Services
Now, I do not have an optomap right now, but when I did I would go the whole 10 yards. I would pull up their eye and use the 3D eye model, going through their pupil and into their eye. I would explain about glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes, hypertension, etc. Patients would be amazed, and invariably say they had never seen that before. They would say they needed to get a family member in to do this test. I realize we do the same thing with a DFE, but patients do not. It adds value to your exam.
Ortho-k and Myopia Management
I talk about these with as many people as I can. If they are near-sighted and have kids or have grandchildren, who better to market what I do than a doting grandparent or parent that does not want their child to have their eyes? The point is if you let people know what you are doing, they will be the ones to tell other people about it.
Patient of the Month
Every month at the staff meeting I have each staff member pick a patient they worked with as their patient of the month. We write a handwritten letter talking about how we love our job and enjoyed working with them earlier in the month. We include a gift card to Starbucks. Again, patients appreciate this and it allows staff to connect with patients throughout the month.
Make Your Staff Your Biggest Cheerleaders
Our staff are the tip of the spear when it comes to patient care and the customer experience. Additionally, you do realize they talk about the office outside of work, a lot. It is a huge part of their lives and you control the narrative on what they are saying. Two quick and easy things you can do to make them speak highly of the office is 1) give them FREE stuff! 2) Let them share in the patient care experience (exam room).
In regards to free stuff, I give my staff free glasses and multiple pairs. They can pick any pair they want and believe me they get excited. They now have a vested interest when we get new frames in, they can relate to the patient about pairs they own or are going to get next, and by getting multiple pairs, they are not afraid to get some of the more crazy frames (colorful, cat-eye, retro, etc.). From a business standpoint you are adding a perk to the staff as well as compensating them in a way that benefits you come tax time, so it's a win-win.
Also, as I was stating last week, when JFK went to NASA and asked the janitor what he did there, the janitor replied, “ I am putting a man on the moon.” He saw that his little part allowed for the big picture to take place. I try to do the same thing by letting my staff be part of patient care. At the end of every day, I will go over any red eyes or unique cases. It lets them feel like they are part of the journey and again gives them positive things to say about the office when talking to family and friends.
Spend Some Time as the Owner Instead of the Doctor
Yes you read that right, more time as the owner vs the doctor. This is a two-fold proposition. 1) you need to make sure you do not burn yourself out. Read any critique of healthcare or complaints from physicians and burnout seems to be in the top 3 complaints. 2) If you do not set time aside to think about where you want the practice to go and grow to, you are going to lose the forest amongst the trees. The day to day grind will consume you and you will not think clearly about how to guide your office to the next level. I suggest at least a half day a week without patients and preferably without staff where you can just think about where you want to grow and improve the office.
How are those for outside the box? Give them a try and watch the office break new records.
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