How These Expert Eye Care Professionals are Adapting During These Challenging Times
Has the recent pandemic clouded your vision on what to do next to keep your practice?
That’s perfectly fine. Times are difficult and different. We are all struggling to figure out what to do.
What is the new “normal” for optometrists? Is there anything I should be doing differently for my optical clinic? What technology can I adapt? What is going to happen when the lockdown is lifted? Can I expect customers to come in? Will eyecare be their priority? Do I have any tools I can use to get in touch with previous customers?
We know you’ve got so many questions so we’ve decided to pick three for now:
1. What are your recommendations to minimize clinic expenses(e.g. rent, cheques payable to suppliers, salary, and etc.) during the lockdown/quarantine period?
2. What digital transformations have you adapted or planned to utilize during these changing times?
3. As we navigate a challenging time, what “strategic preparations/changes” can you advise to inspire or help our fellow eye care professionals on keeping and growing their practice?
We reached out to some of the influencer and expert friends in the eye care industry to help us answer these questions and give you a little bit of insight on what you can possibly do after the lockdown is lifted and your optical clinic is back for business.
Learn. Learn. Keep Learning.
“We should often act like what we know is inadequate and there is so much stuff to learn and improve on. Regularly attend webinars, read up-to-date journals, and most importantly, communicate whatever you learned to netizens through your blog or social media. Share with them what you know and show them what you can do that most optical chains cannot,” he concluded.
“Look for services that you can add to what you have now. Learn more to improve your weaknesses – either in delivery service or in technical skills” adds Dr. Millette Romualdez.
To prepare for the new normal, Dr. Tom Jamora, has also been attending suppliers and organizations webinars to equip himself with knowledge on how to transact his business with safety precautions.
Take Care of Your Employees
Understandably, everybody is struggling in this pandemic.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your family and more importantly, don’t forget to take care of your employees.
“We donate to help other people but we need to remember that we have to help our employees first. You can calibrate the amount that you give them, they will understand as the clinic is closed. For some, they may want to take advantage of government aid.”
Take Care of Your Patients,
They Will Take Care of You
Aside from taking care of your employees, investing your time in taking good care of your patients is the best thing to do in this time of crisis.
“Give the best service to make them HAPPY, not only satisfied with their NEEDS and WANTS,” smiles Dr. Tom Jamora.
“Provide great after-sales service that only family optical clinics can give. Take your patient on a journey of learning more about their eye health and how their eyes and eye defects impact their lives and the best solutions available for their eye troubles.”
“Give them warranty on lens and frames if it’s a mistake from a supplier or your clinic. Don’t hesitate to call your previous patients and your VIPs to check up on them which may lead to a sale.
“Don’t hesitate to give out professional advice and tips like how your patients can take better care of their frames, how they can properly clean their lenses and what’s a good time to have another eye check-up.”
“As an optometrist, the best thing you can really do is show much you value and care for your patients. Invest your time in taking care of them and they’ll invest their time in you,” ends Dr. Tom Jamora of Jamora Clinic Artificial Eye,
Clinic Cost Cutting
Like others, Dr. Lexie Lee Choi of Tarlac Optical Clinic is also implementing clinic cost-cutting measures like ordering the minimal amount of frames. She says that you can still offer protective eyewear or contact lenses (stock) and solutions.
To also help with your finances, these optometrists recommend talking to your landlord regarding the rents.
“Luckily, the malls we’ve worked with waived our rental fees during this pandemic. We also immediately asked for a holiday on almost all our accounts,” says Dr. Mark Paul Paroli.
Dr. Millette Romualdez also says to take advantage of government aid as the government has already issued some guidelines for small businesses.
Both Dr. Millette Romualdez and Dr. Elaine Maceda Fernandez agree, that for the cheques for the suppliers if funds are available – it is best to continue paying your dues or payments so that it will not be overwhelming after the ECQ.
Although, if funds are a concern, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from your suppliers.
Use an Appointment System
It is also recommended that you do an appointment only system after the lockdown is lifted and until things stabilize.
Not only is this the best option right now but doing an appointment only system will help maintain social distancing and reduce the chances of you, your employees and your patients contracting COVID 19.
Embrace the Internet and Technology
“This will be a powerful tool as we face a new era of business- type/model during the quarantine and post-quarantine. Download and learn apps that will be useful for online sourcing/ purchasing. Invest in boosting and advertising your page with informative data, so that patients can see your online presence and can contact you during this ECQ.”
“Use this time wisely and efficiently to strategize and develop a plan with your team. Pray incessantly for better days ahead,” she concluded.
Dr. Tom Jamora agrees. He says that in China, companies have switched to social media and eCommerce. This will be the trend when the lockdown is lifted and in the future.
“I personally hired somebody to help beef up our Facebook page. More appointments will be done through Facebook. Reach out to your patients online or through mobile.”
Technology can greatly help with your marketing and after-sales services. An optical clinic management system with a good patient record software and follow up system would help save you time and money.
Tough Times, Tougher People
Adjusting to the new normal and getting used to change especially transitioning into digital might be uncomfortable for you.
But with the right team to support you throughout these challenging times, it will be much easier.
If you are looking for an easy to use appointment system that directly integrates with your patient information records and medical history, schedule a demo with us.
This pandemic has forced most of us to adapt to new changes like digital transformation. But what remains is our eye care professionals’ commitment to diligently serving their patients.
May these experts inspire you to continue adapting and see differently as we enter a new era.