In eyecare practices, every staff member plays a role in both the patient experience and the overall success of the business. If a business lacks sufficient communication among employees, it can severely limit growth, success, and patient satisfaction. Therefore, it’s important that employees are aware of the business’ goals and are shown opportunities to help work toward these goals. One key tool in getting everyone focused is through staff meetings.
Regularly scheduled office meetings should have an agenda that has been planned in advance. Meet with your office manager beforehand to discuss what topics are pressing and need to be addressed. Don’t only talk about what needs improvement; this is your opportunity as a leader to compliment staff on what is going well. In the meeting, discuss things that have been implemented over the last few months which are working effectively. This is also a good chance to get feedback from your staff on what may not be working well and to strategize to make improvements.
Use these meetings to update staff on new developments within the practice. Some examples include a new frame line you’ll be carrying, benefits of vitamin supplements for the eyes, a special type of contact lens you’ll be fitting, or new office equipment you’ll be adding. Keep in mind, part-time employees may not be up to date with some recent changes or information that others may have been informed of. To avoid this problem between office meetings, take advantage of technology. Have all staff members set up an office e-mail account and use it to communicate with one another. Also, bring staff up to speed on your latest newsletter, advertising, and in-office promotions such as a trunk show. Staff should be capable of fielding questions patients may ask on the spot.
Owners can learn something new at these meetings as well. They can find out about the number of prescriptions that are walking or what frame lines patients are asking for that the office doesn’t carry. Other things include whether patients are complaining to staff about having to wait too long for the doctor or patients wishing the office had different office hours. Patients will often bring up many subjects with staff members, but once in the exam room, they don’t feel comfortable discussing or complaining about it to the doctor.
Remember to plan ahead, make meetings partly educational, partly about patient service, and always focused on improving your business.