I own a community eye care practice and am worried that some of my staff are not providing the best customer service. What can I do?

If even one member of staff is providing poor customer service this will cause you to lose money.

This was bought home to me recently when I was conducting an examination in a patient’s home. I asked her why she hadn’t gone to her usual eye care practice (the owner of which I knew to be an excellent practitioner) and she said when she phoned to make an appointment the person answering the phone had been grumpy with her. She decided not to make the appointment and contacted the company I worked for a home examination. After I completed an examination and showed her my selection of frames she purchased a pair of reading glasses for £175. The grumpiness of the person answering the telephone had caused the practice to lose money.

Your processes are as efficient as can be, your tech is modern and you have a great selection of frames but if your staff isn’t passionate about giving the best customer service. So what? Your patients might be bad-mouthing your practice just because they had one bad experience with a staff member. This negative comment could be passed from one person to another, and eventually land online (remember, most people tell 5 people if they have a bad experience, and only 1 if they have a good one). One negative comment can drive your existing patients away, or put your prosperous business on hold.

Keep staff motivated. You can tell them that their salary is directly linked to the number of patients who spend money in the practice. Fees for eye examinations and the profit from spectacle sales are where their pay comes from. Losing money jeopardises practice income, salary, and eventually their job.

You can set individual sale incentives for employees who reach certain criteria in their sales each month; or set overall team goals and reward the entire practice when those goals are met. A motivated, understanding staff is key to building a strong practice reputation, increasing sales, and creating a prosperous practice.


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