Optician + optical manager Sheena Taff helps eyecare professionals with a clear-cut, crucial guide on getting back to business
Preparing for the month ahead is going to look different for many of us. Some of our practices may be finding their footing in the new normal of day-to-day business, while for others, June will mark the first time the doors have opened in months.
In order to feel less overwhelmed with all the changes in procedure you are facing, let this helpful weekly checklist break it down, make it manageable, and help you navigate the foreseeable future of business in your optical shop.
WEEK 1: Ease Concerns.
Only as we live and work in this new space will we be able to see the requirements of our patients and business. Openly discussing these changing needs will help ease concerns.
WEEK 1 CHECKLIST
1. Have a one-on-one training session with each employee to demonstrate the new disinfecting procedures and patient interaction requirements.
2. Evaluate your staffing roster and determine the scheduling requirements week by week. If you are bringing staff back in a tiered process, be open and honest with each employee.
3. Touch base face-to-face or virtually to gauge each staff member’s comfort level with the current climate. Adjusting duties for immunocompromised staff may be required.
WEEK 2: Connect With Patients.
Let patients know you are open for business and communicate that their experience in the optical shop will be different from before.
WEEK 2 CHECKLIST
1. Write out a list of what patients need to know before coming into the practice. Do you require them to wear a mask, take a Covid-19 questionnaire, have their temperature taken?
2. Create a social media plan. Mix important information such as current business hours and office protocols with fun, lighthearted posts of your staff and frames.
3. Set up an eye-catching window display, including vinyl lettering, a poster, and/or balloons—something that’s bold and will show that you’re open for business.
WEEK 3: Contingency Plan.
We are far from out of the woods yet, and future closures may be inevitable. Making notes while new knowledge gained is fresh will be a reference point.
WEEK 3 CHECKLIST
1. In your plan, include actions you’ll take if someone comes into your office with Covid-19 or a staff member gets sick.
2. Make a list of the items you require to keep your practice safe: disinfecting supplies and PPE. Order supplies to have on reserve.
3. Contact your POS provider to inquire about a wireless terminal (great for curbside pickups). Increase the tap limit to reduce the need for patients to touch the keypad.
4. Contact suppliers and inquire about delivery timelines. Have there been changes to availability?
WEEK 4: Use e-Commerce.
Many practices had not considered how to create revenue when the doors are closed. Now is the time to create an e-shop.
WEEK 4 CHECKLIST
1. How your patients browse your inventory is going to change. Ensure you are regularly posting inventory images on your website and social media. Better yet, give patients the option to purchase online or offer at-home try-on kits.
2. Research online platforms and do a cost analysis to determine which one will work best for your practice. Do you want to do it yourself via Squarespace or Shopify or are you looking for a hands-off approach with a company like Optify?
3. Set up an auto-ship program for CL wearers. Include an incentive to sign up, like free eye drops.
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.