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Thread: The Eternal Conflict

  1. #1
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    The Eternal Conflict

    Wondering what solutions offices have come up with to tackle "The Eternal Conflict" between the Front Desk/Pretest and Dispensing.

    How are you guys tackling patients walking in for adjustments/pickups/repairs?

    Our current "solution" (which honestly is not much of a solution) is to have the front desk come back to the dispensary and write a name on a white board. After many years of this "solution" the dynamic has soured to the point of the front desk simply just writing a name on the board, and say absolutely nothing to any dispensers that (may be available)

    The expectation is that as dispensers its our job to constantly monitor the white board (even if we're head deep in a message to a patient/dr/ordering etc)

    There are plenty of times where as a dispenser we can pause what we are doing to help the patient however its hard to help if its not communicated to us other then this white board.

    HELP!!!

  2. #2
    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Sounds like an owner/management issue, likely to include an understaffed situation. As an employee, and depending on how many/complex the hats are you need to wear each day - just remember you can only do so much. Eventually patient care will suffer one way or another.

  3. #3
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    1. "Pickups" are scheduled. Period. That needs to change, immediately. "Let's set up an appointment for your glasses pick up with Jerri..." (edit: this is done when the order is created)

    2. "Repairs" are to be put in a job tray with the patient's name and number, and "we'll have the optician look at them, and she'll give you a call". "No, you can't wait." (Think of getting your tires changed...you're in for a long wait...)

    3. "Adjustments" should be appointment-only, as well, but that takes a while to achieve. But you have to remember: scheduled person in the office > walk in > phone call. "Customers" know if they show up at Olive Garden without calling ahead, they're going to be waiting. Call ahead for seating...at the optical dispensing table.



    (Now I want all-you-can-eat garlic bread sticks and salad)
    Last edited by drk; 07-22-2022 at 07:33 AM.

  4. #4
    OptiBoardaholic KrystleClear's Avatar
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    Our office is set up in a way that patients can just walk in to the optical shop. I'm the only optician in my office now and probably will be solo for the foreseeable future. I just tell people when not to come (like my day off and during the lunch hour) and that's it. I take it as it comes. People who need my services can just walk into the optical shop and if I am with a patient they can have a seat and wait. They don't need to interact with the front desk staff at all if they are just coming in to see me. I am learning how to best manage my time. I let the morning orders stack up and I order everything after my lunch when the doctor is still at lunch and no patients are checking out or coming in. I then order all the afternoon jobs close to the end of the day. Any orders after that will be taken care of the next day. I call all my dispenses in the afternoon as usually then I have taken care of all my other obligations (ordering contacts & restocking trials, cleaning demo lenses, ordering frames and supplies, etc etc.) Anything I can prep ahead of time, I do. I go through the doctors' schedules to try and find refractive post ops and other appointments that are likely to result in a glasses order and get paperwork ready for them in advance.

    At my old employer, we always had to have at least one optician out on the floor at all times, so at least someone was there to greet people as they come in. Before that rule, everyone would be hanging out in the back and patients could come and go undetected and there were incidents of frames getting stolen.

    I assume your office is set up in a way that patients can't just walk themselves back to you? Front desk staff is usually busy too and have their own tasks that need done. Having worked at the front desk myself I know that you never get to complete a task start to finish uninterrupted. They might be annoyed that they have to come alert someone else to do their job. Not saying it's right to be passive aggressive of course, but you will have this at any employer. Someone should be checking to make sure you don't have a patient/customer waiting to be helped, though.
    Krystle

  5. #5
    Compulsive Truthteller OptiBoard Gold Supporter Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uilleann View Post
    Sounds like an owner/management issue, likely to include an understaffed situation. As an employee, and depending on how many/complex the hats are you need to wear each day - just remember you can only do so much. Eventually patient care will suffer one way or another.

    Is reception overwhelmed as well?

    How many opticians are there?

    Just you? On a scale of 1 being very quiet and not overworked (obviously not you) and 10 being routinely asked to work late without compensation what's your number?

    I work with a similar, more flexible scheduling than drk's post. But everyone knows he's rolling in dough and doesn't care if they need/want to wait.

    And Welcome to Optiboard Sakora!!!
    Last edited by Uncle Fester; 07-21-2022 at 03:28 PM. Reason: tweak

  6. #6
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Krystle, I'd like an army of you.

  7. #7
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    I always operated as you did Krystle. Why would you want to make it one more level of difficult for your patients to come in and see you? Every encounter is a relationship builder. What do you do with walk-ins? Say, “Hey lady! Appointment only!”. You’re just another PIA in your patients life. You should strive to make it a place people ​want to come to…..

    You learn to prioritize as patients walk in..You got a new script, you need an adjustment, you’re picking up cl’s, you need a nose pad… You many times can excuse yourself from one patient to address the needs of another. (Like a frame looker, “Hey keep looking, if you don’t mind this guy just needs a nose pad”. It’s always, oh ya, go ahead. Sure, there are times you can’t break away, but you can give a friendly shout out at everyone that walks in the door. Tell them have a seat or look at some frames and you’ll be with them asp. Folks understand (usually) when they walk in and your busy. They take a seat or they say “I’ll come back when you’re not so busy”.

    Who doesn’t b*tch about customer service? Why on earth would you want your paying patients to put you in that category? Create an atmosphere of wanna go to, rather than have to go to….

  8. #8
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Hmm. I’m am sorry to hear the routine needs of eyewear clients are upsetting the rhythm of your day’s scheduling.

    Go figure.

    B

  9. #9
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    If scheduling other "eyewear clients" means virtually nothing, then the whole place should be walk-in. Like, say, Walmart. Or, McDonalds.

    Try that at your attorney's office.

  10. #10
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    ECP’s wear several hats. Dr appointments are a universal norm. If you have a dispensary or sell CL’s, you’re also a retailer.

    People want to go to McDonald’s.

    People have to go to a lawyer.

  11. #11
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    I've always worked in a walk in type setting, and I feel it works best when you have more than one optician. The last office I worked at was walk in and SUPER busy. I was the only optician and was lucky to get a bathroom break. When I would get home I would be shaking from the stress. I left that office to this one that is much slower. Still the only optician. We went to appointment only when covid hit, mostly for social distancing and for having to clean after each patient. Our patients love that they get all the attention without all the interruptions from me popping from one patient to another. I also love the scheduled times because I can get to the bathroom and have lunch. (very important!) That being said... repairs, if they stop in and it's something I can do quick (think NP or restring) then I will excuse myself nicely and help them out. I do think it's more convenient for ME to do scheduling. I think it depends on your situation. Right now (we are still heavy covid protical due to being in hospital location) it is easier for me. Eventually that will go back to normal with just walk ins again. I would say, scheduling for now would help with patient frustration. Is it less frustrating for the patient to schedule an appointment or be lost out in white board limbo? Or less frustrating because they don't have to wait. Yes... walk in is better but sometimes you have to do what works for YOUR office and YOUR situation to best help the patient. I also explain to my patients... I'm the only one here...when I'm with a patient, I don't answer the phone... leave me a message. I ALWAYS ALWAYS return calls.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    Krystle, I'd like an army of you.
    +1 Definitely

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    Compulsive Truthteller OptiBoard Gold Supporter Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    Still there sakora?

    Any comments to add to our questions and posts so far or are you really a ghost?

    My bottom line for our office and life for that matter is always try to live by the Golden rule.

  14. #14
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    ECP’s wear several hats. Dr appointments are a universal norm. If you have a dispensary or sell CL’s, you’re also a retailer.

    People want to go to McDonald’s.

    People have to go to a lawyer.
    "You are only selling two things: good feelings, and solutions to problems."

    So, yeah, I am selling solutions to problems, not a tasty shake and fries. It's not fun to come to a doctor, nor should it be.


    Doctors = professionals = opticians. In my world, people come to see me, or my optician, for what we know and what we do. They don't come into an "optical store" to "pick out some glasses". I'm not a retailer, never have been, never will be. (The absolute closest I come to that is with frames. They are halfway retailed.)

    I don't "sell" CLs. I prescribe them. I also supply medical devices such as contact lenses. Nobody calls my office or walks in off the street to "buy contacts". I do not have a CL inventory. So...no. Very few people except internet scum "sell CLs".
    Last edited by drk; 07-22-2022 at 11:01 AM.

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    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    "You are only selling two things: good feelings, and solutions to problems."

    So, yeah, I am selling solutions to problems, not a tasty shake and fries. It's not fun to come to a doctor, nor should it be.


    ".
    It’s not supposed to be fun going to the eye doctor? Ok… That’s a shame…

  16. #16
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    Idk. I think we are caught in that in between area. I do have patients that like to shop for glasses. They love to have different looks and different styles. I would have people pop in on a whim because they just want to try stuff on for a new look. At the same time, we're filling an RX for glasses. So I think it's a little bit of both and the office should ideally be able to handle that. The problem would be poor staffing and poor office set up. It's crazy, the stuff I've seen. A busy practice with 3 doctors cannot have just 1 optician and get mad because the optician needs a day off and there is no one to cover for them. Having to close the optical because there is no one to work that day is insane. Poor management. It's not for patients and it's not good for business. I once worked at a practice that was remodeling. They left the blueprints in the break room with a bunch of post it notes. Everyone was allowed to put suggestions on it. In the end, it was super well designed. The only flaw was that there should have been a little more storage, but that's pretty good! They also had a full staff so patients were able to be taken care of. I get it ...times are hard right now with hiring etc, but I'm talking pre covid days where the owner just didn't want to pay for additional staff.

  17. #17
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    It’s not supposed to be fun going to the eye doctor? Ok… That’s a shame…
    What doctor do you visit that's "fun"? Your proctologist?
    Last edited by drk; 07-22-2022 at 12:34 PM.

  18. #18
    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Takes money to make money - as the saying goes. Want to watch your profits, patient base, and any good will the comminuty at large holds for you shrivel into nothing? Be stingy with your hiring. Definitely understaff at all times, refuse to train, and definitely above all underpay!

    Conversely, staff your medical practice appropriately for your patient load, and traffic (to include phone/fax/email/chat/records/Rx refills/etc), give them the training and tools they need to thrive, pay them every bit what they're worth, then pay them a bit more than that. Treat your staff as peers, and make sure they know they're valued above and beyond the 8-10 hours you get out of them every workday. Vacation, personal, sick time, random little acts like taking them to lunch, throw a small gift card their way. Send them home an hour early with pay here and there...those are the basics to have an incredibly tight office team, that supports each other and isn't constantly wanting or needing to find employment NOT with you.
    Last edited by Uilleann; 07-22-2022 at 06:22 PM.

  19. #19
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Uilleann, I'd like an army of you.

    (But you're too old.)

  20. #20
    Master OptiBoarder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uilleann View Post
    Takes money to make money - as the saying goes. Want to watch your profits, patient base, and any good will the comminuty at lage holds for you shrivel into nothing? Be stingy with your hiring. Definitely understaff at all times, refuse to train, and definitely above all underpay!

    Conversely, staff your medical practice appropriately for your patient load, and traffic (to include phone/fax/email/chat/records/Rx refills/etc), give them the training and tools they need to thrive, pay them every bit what they're worth, then pay them a bit more than that. Treat your staff as peers, and make sure they know they're valued above and beyond the 8-10 hours you get out of them every workday. Vacation, personal, sick time, random little acts like taking them to lunch, throw a small gift card their way. Send them home an hour early with pay here and there...those are the basics to have an incredibly tight office team, that supports each other and isn't constantly wanting or needing to find employment NOT with you.
    OMG YES!!!! A little respect goes a long way. Like I said... the last practice I was at, I was so busy I couldn't pee. I was physically sick when I got home from work. When I needed a day off for my kiddo being sick, I was told it would reflect poorly on my review and I could be fired for that. Instead, I (stupidly) had my in laws drive an hour to watch my sick baby. When you're too cheap to be staffed properly, your employees suffer and they leave. Then you lose money with training and loss of business while the newbies learn their stuff. A long time ago I had an older OD that I worked for that every time he saw me leave for the day he would say "thanks for coming in today!" I used to think it was odd, but now I understand that was his way of saying he appreciated me. It was just a nice thing to say.

  21. #21
    OptiBoard Novice Fleyed's Avatar
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    We typically have 8 or 9 doctor days on a busy week. Have 4 licensed opticians and 3-4 optician apprentices'. Everything flows wonderfully and patients rarely wait more than 5-10 minutes. Give every patient the time they NEED instead of focusing on knocking the next one out. Even our smaller office's that have 1 or 2 doctor days, still have 2-3 warm bodies at all times. Only thing you can schedule here is your exam.

  22. #22
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    I find, in an optometry office (not ophthalmology) that one OD feeds one optician. The ratio has to be about 1:1.

    You have a ratio of about 8.5 to 7.5, and you think the service is good. We agree.

  23. #23
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    What doctor do you visit that's "fun"? Your proctologist?
    Classy doc…

    No, doctors aren’t particularly fun to visit, I’m sure you’re no different. The fun is in the optical. (Where you make most of your income.)

  24. #24
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    Classy doc…

    No, doctors aren’t particularly fun to visit, I’m sure you’re no different. The fun is in the optical. (Where you make most of your income.)
    Hmmm. Since the “doc” usually doesn’t ever work in the optical, and rarely do they know what to do there, why is it where most of “their” income comes from?

    This and more continually plays into the idea that “it all starts with the Rx.”

    Wrong. Eyehealth begins with the complete eye exam. There’s lots of stuff beside corrective eyewear that offices and qualified docs/staff can do. Why is it always about the eyewear?

    Think about it.

    B

  25. #25
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    24/7, I do have the most fun in the optical, and you're right...patients (women) prefer shopping to getting a puff in the eyeball.

    Barry, I agree with you. In an optometry practice a much more wholistic approach applies. I would imagine a wholistic approach works very well with your optical, and some of the other professional opticals. Really, it's about vision, but sometimes we wish it was only about fashion.

    If it were just about fashion, weirdos like Warbly Parkur would dominate. How hard is it to put an icon on a website?

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