*&!@$^*% 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
Is signage there or is some or all of
it missing, or faded so badly that the colors are no
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Next time we'll talk about dispensary
impressions and visual merchandising.
Thanks for listening!