Article

In the Optical

The Optical Checklist

JULY/AUGUST

Optician + optical manager Sheena Taff offers specific tips to help ECPs regain confidence and maintain a safe environment.

With a few weeks—or maybe months—of gaining experience doing business during Covid-19, now is the time to evaluate how your safety policies and procedures are working. Looking at your business from different points of view can offer insight to the patient experience, the habits and comfort of your staff, and how these are affecting the overall success of your business.

Having found a familiarity in the new day to day of the business, we can focus on regaining our confidence to plan for a profitable recovery.

WEEK 1: Monitor Progress.

As we spend time in our optical shop and optometry practice, pinpoint what’s working and what needs improvement.

WEEK 1 CHECKLIST

1. Audit your practice by walking through it twice: first through the eyes of a patient, then through the eyes of a manager.

2. Book one-on-one meetings with staff to ask their perspective on which procedures are working well and where safety policies are falling short. There may be things going on that you don’t see.

3. Audit appointment history over the last 30 days and appointments for the next 30 days. Identify times where you need to add or subtract hours. This will help maximize sales opportunities and possibly reduce payroll expenditures.

WEEK 2: Grow Communication Channels.

Despite 2020 being an exceptionally difficult year, we can all support each other. Participate in a charity drive, support a community program, or simply have conversations with your patients.

WEEK 2 CHECKLIST

1. Collaborate with neighborhood businesses. A joint promotion or referral discount for new patients can help access nearby clients and increase visibility.

2. Look at the analytics from your social media channels. Pay attention to geographical results and what types of posts are gaining the most engagement in the immediate area.

3. Create a content calendar, focusing on posts that attract nearby patients. Boost posts with ad dollars to bring in patients and buyers.

WEEK 3: Keep It Clean.

Our diligence cannot falter. It’s important for each staff member to know how to clean frames thoroughly without damaging the products.

WEEK 3 CHECKLIST

1. Use a large tub of soapy water for cleaning display frames and an ultrasonic cleaner for patients’ frames. Create a step-by-step procedure for disinfecting each frame material, checking with vendors if they have specific guidelines.

2. Earn patient loyalty by creating a frame care handout. Include it with glasses dispensed. Better yet, put together a branded eyeglass cleaning kit as a gift with purchase.

3. Check local health authority, state regulatory, and licensing board websites to ensure your business is meeting guidelines.

WEEK 4: Pinpoint Partners.

It can be easy to overlook the key experience our vendors provide us. Vendors should be our partners and our successes symbiotic.

WEEK 4 CHECKLIST

1. Evaluate your vendors’ payment, warranty, and exchange terms. Rank from best to worst and consider consolidating purchasing to those in the top spots.

2. Have a virtual meeting to ask your lens/lab partners what Covid-19 support they are offering. Do they have promos or business proposals that will help increase margins and sales?

3. Make an inventory budget for these potential situations: another mandated business closure, operations requiring a leaner mentality due to reduced sales, and a best-case scenario of regular sales.

TRENDING VIDEO READY TO REOPEN

EB Editor-in-Chief Erinn Morgan takes a virtual tour with Sheena Taff as she shares Roberts & Brown Opticians’ new safety protocols and strategies. Watch the video here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sheena Taff is a second-generation licensed optician at Roberts & Brown Opticians in Vancouver, Canada. Since becoming the optical boutique boss, she has evolved and grown the business and taken it to new heights. Taff is familiar with the many roles an independent practice owner and employees must undertake and wants to share tips for growing a successful practice.