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    Ten reasons why my practice doesn’t have a phone

    Strictly social media only—no website either

    Many of you know I pulled the plug on a practice website and went full on social media nearly eight years ago. However, most of you probably don’t know that around the same time, I also cut the cord on the phone! The phone represented a huge headache for our office. The phone is the most disruptive form of communications. Eliminating it has led to a happier staff and better patient experience.

    Disrupting the in-person experience

    The phone was disruptive to an awesome in-person experience. Your patients hate it when the optician stops working with them to pick up a phone call. How do you feel when you walk in somewhere, and you are given the "finger" by the front desk person, indicating for you to just hang out while she finishes up the call? Our patients and staff hate the disruptions caused by the phone.      

    Why they call

    For a period of about three months, I began to study phone use. Why were people calling us? The vast majority of the calls we received were to:

    1. To make an appointment

    2. To find out if an order was in

    3. To find out basic info, such as hours and insurance accepted

    Recent news: Blink in-home vision test worries ODs

    Our solutions were:

    1. Utilize an online scheduler. We wanted our patients to be able to enjoy the same efficiencies and advantages they are accustomed to while using services like Grubhub.com, Expedia.com, and Amazon.com. They are able to make an appointment at any time, even when the office is closed. They also will automatically get the office FAQ, so they come best prepared.

    2. Utilize an old-school business card with eyewear expected date of arrival written on it. Despite our love for everything tech, we still do some things analog. One of them is the use of business cards. The optician will hand a patient a business card with the estimated time of arrival and say, “We expect your glasses by this date. As soon as they arrive, we will e-mail you. Please don’t e-mail us before this date, however, if for some reason they are not here by this date, then e-mail us to let us know.” We intentionally mention e-mail several times to let people know that is how we prefer to communicate.

    3. Ensure our online presence includes our basic information. For example, our Facebook page’s info section is complete, and our “About” section has an up-to-date FAQ. The FAQ addresses many of the common questions people ask. We are clear that e-mail is our preferred mode of communication.

    Next: Why we call

    Justin Bazan, OD
    Dr. Justin Bazan is the owner of Park Slope Eye in Brooklyn, NY. He serves as a spokesperson to the Vision Council and is on their ...

    2 Comments

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    • AmberGuyton-Baran
      I can see how this would be useful for some practices. Getting rid of the phone would not work for ours. The majority of our patient base is seniors, and while some seniors know their way around the computer, we have some patients that do not even own a computer or smart phone. We even have one patient who prefers us to send him a postcard when his glasses are ready.
    • Justin Bazan
      Hi Amber, thank you for reading and commenting. Consider the following; The older seniors who don't use the internet are dying off. The new crop of seniors are super internet savy. Don't die off with them, get online! Recent studies show that seniors 65-80 are using the internet more and more. Current #'s show that nearly 60% are internet savvy.

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