CONTINUING EDUCATION, 1 CE Credit – $9.99, 1 Hour, General Knowledge, Level 1, Release date: October 2007, Expiration date: October 31, 2012

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DISPENSARY DÉCOR

Fix the *&!@$^*% Light Bulb!



Years ago a shampoo commercial told us that "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." Truer words have never been spoken.

That first impression can be made in any number of places, from the front door to the telephone. Let's start with the easy stuff.

 

The Front Door

  • Is it clean (on both sides) or does it carry the imprint of every toddler sized visitor or adult peering through the glass you've had in the last 6 months?

  • Is signage there or is some or all of it missing, or faded so badly that the colors are no longer recognizable?

  • Are the door handles or knobs clean enough to touch or must someone wear gloves to be safe?

Outside Windows and Signage

  • Are they clean inside and out as well? I know they're tall, but if you don't want to clean them and your staff doesn't either, find someone who will.

  • If you're fortunate enough to have display windows, what kind of "story" do they tell about your office? Cluttered and unfocused or crisp, clean and inviting? It's your choice. You may not want to keep frames in the windows for security reasons, so make sure your merchandising is interesting with or without them. Remember that colors fade quickly in sunlight, so change frames and display materials often.

  • If you have a lighted sign on your building don't just assume that it lights up when it's supposed to or that all the lights are working. Go outside and check. Consumers have enough trouble trying to remember what we do. Don't confuse them with OP C AN or O TOM T IST.

Front Entryway and Reception Area

  • When your patient walks through the door are they assailed with the fragrance of recently edged high index lenses or the dye units? Disinfectant? Over-powering colognes? One recent retail study found that customers are more willing to spend time and money in an area that smells nice. Mall management didn't place that cinnamon bun place away from the food court because they ran out of space! The fragrance and cosmetic counters aren't in the front of the department store for convenience either.

  • What does the flooring in the entryway look like? If you have an outside entrance, mats on the outside and inside will keep the floors cleaner longer. Using a vacuum cleaner or carpet sweeper daily never killed anyone, regardless of what your kids say!

  • Is your reception area neat and clean or does the carpet and upholstery need cleaning?

  • If the reading material is more than a month old, throw it away. You might consider limiting reading selections to eyewear related material. There are a number of eyewear themed "coffee table" books available, put your practice information on the outside and inside and reap the benefits of a better informed client. Many manufacturers provide patient education materials at low or no cost. Better they should be thinking about eyewear than the latest Hollywood scandal.

  • A word about music. Most people like it, just not too loud and not too out of the mainstream. You know your clientele, play what's appropriate. Try to avoid the radio if possible. You really don't want them listening to a competitors advertising, do you?

  • Considering a video display? Figure out your average waiting time and design the content to change at least once during that period. Playing the same thing over and over is not informative, it's annoying. Too many messages and it becomes background noise.

  • If you can't see over the front desk through the plants, signs and POP, move something. Make the area inviting and professional. Leave enough room to put a purse or planner (but not a small child) on the counter.

  • If I can see a patient's file open on your desk, so can everyone else and that's not cool. Close or otherwise conceal working files from curious eyes. We'll all be a lot safer and happier.

  • If you welcome children in your practice, make a place for them in the reception area. You can keep them occupied with quiet toys like puzzles and books. When the toys get dirty or worn, get rid of them and get new. You'll make the Moms happy. Teenagers? Nothing makes them happy but consider finding an area for a "cell phone zone". They can chat and text to their heart's content without annoying everyone else.

The Telephone

  • Answer it quickly. 3 rings and you're really busy. 6 rings and you're closed. If you can't get to the phone quickly, have a daytime message that picks up at 4 rings to let your potential customer know you're there and will call them back.

  • Now about that phone greeting. Let me give you a BIG tip, most folks hate scripted greetings. If a greeting is wholeheartedly accepted by every staff member, great! If it's not, it will sound forced and not particularly friendly, no matter how "great" a day it is. Simple and professional is the best choice here. Too much to say can be confusing to the caller and risks being garbled by a staff member.

  • Another simple thing…ASK for permission to place a caller on hold, don't assume they can or want to wait.

  • Consider an "on hold" message rather than canned music or the radio. It's the perfect time to provide your patients with information on products and services and of course hours and directions.

About the @$%%#^& light bulb? If it's burned out, CHANGE IT! Don't wait until you're forced to work in near darkness. It's just not going to save that much money.

Next time we'll talk about dispensary impressions and visual merchandising.

Thanks for listening!

Judy Canty
ABO/NCLE 

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