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Your team is the biggest asset in your practice.  Take a look at your balance sheet and see how much money is directly tied to them.  A great majority of your profit can be attributed to them because of their skills, talents, demeanor, and reputation with patients.  But, do you know how happy or satisfied they are in their current role?  Think about it as a health check-up for your practice.  Most of us are accustomed to continued, routine care for our bodies (especially the eyes!), but have you checked in mentally with them lately?  Team members want to be heard, they want to feel as if they are making a difference and have the right tools to complete their job effectively.  They may have a great idea for reducing inefficiencies in your patient flow.  They want to hear that you support and are proud of the work they have accomplished.  Their production may improve greatly just by creating a clean, comfortable workspace for them or offering continuing education opportunities to further their knowledge and career with your practice.  We can help by offering a platform for your staff to voice those preferences.

Williams Group can help identify pillars or areas where your staff may be feeling less than satisfied by giving them a safe place to voice their needs and opinions.  What would be better yet, would be to hear your staff are thriving and look forward to their workday, every day.  Would you want that for your team?  However, if the outcome is not a perfect work environment, we can partner with you to turn the corner by utilizing a combination of assessments, giving you and the staff guidance along the way.  A well-oiled team who works effectively together not only reduces your staff overhead costs by repeat hiring and onboarding costs but also produces a happy work environment for you and ultimately the patients who come through your doors.

Ready to take your practice to the next level? Contact us today.

 

Michele Korth

Practice Management Coordinator
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When was the last time you reviewed your accounts receivables? Yesterday, last month, last year? 

At Williams Group, we dive into reviewing and analyzing every area of the practice. Every time we come across a practice with an outrageously high amount of accounts receivables monies - we always stress the importance of reviewing your aging accounts receivables reports, even if you have made this the responsibility of another role within the practice.

Why? It certainly isn't a great feeling to see hard-earned money end up as a write-off or adjustment within your practice management software. 

There are a number of best practices to help keep your accounts receivables in check. 

Here are a few steps to get you headed in the right direction for managing your accounts receivables:

  1. Run your accounts receivables report - Run your accounts receivables report on a monthly basis to ensure your account receivables balance is less than the average past three months' receipts or gross revenue. 
  2. Work your accounts receivables report - If you see that your accounts receivables are high, don't panic. Create a plan for you or an individual on your team to begin working your accounts down or outsource to an organization that has a Revenue Cycle Management program like CSEye Compliance Specialists to assist you with this. 
  3. Document and follow-up - Make notes. Always make notes when working on your accounts receivables. My recommendation is to notate within your patient ledger in your practice management software the moment you have worked the aging balance so next time you review, you are able to reference your previous notes.

Reviewing your accounts receivables is not a one-and-done task - you must be consistent in reviewing and in ensuring that your practice is receiving payment for services and materials rendered. If you are a practice owner who has given the responsibility of working your accounts receivables to another member of your team, make sure that you are consistently reviewing the numbers together, and just be sure to verify that your accounts receivables are not falling on the back burner.  

If you need help with your accounts receivable, join our Executive Management Program.

Michelle Bogeart

Executive Management Coach
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I've never understood the impossibly rigid stance on the policy of no refunds or ever stating your policies to a patient. One of my favorite customer authors says it best, "giving your customer your policy tells you what you can't do for the customer, not what you can do." The idea of not refunding is usually a prideful one that makes the patient feel like you can never be wrong and they are the ones that messed up. If people are demanding refunds, did you sell them something they didn’t want or need, or maybe we just didn’t set a clear expectation. 

We always believe in a no-fuss refund guarantee. Use this as an opportunity to teach your team to set better expectations before the sale. Therefore, reducing returns simply by better service and expectation setting. If you stand your ground based out of pride, you will likely lose the patient. Possibly a few more when they go sharing their experience with everyone, that you don't care about your patients, only money.

However, giving a refund, sincere apology, and ensuring that you intend to over-deliver on their expectations in the future. Refunds should always be seen as a way to improve the patient experience. If someone is requesting to make a return, then it means they aren’t satisfied. If you truly believe that your patient is most important, then your decisions and actions should mirror that by doing what is best for them, as long as it is not a detriment to the business.

It may cost you to refund a frame you cannot sell or lenses going in the trash. However, could you speak with a vendor rep to swap the unwanted frames out for a new pair or ask the lab for a credit? By having better service and providing clear expectations, it should be so infrequent that you’re having to ask that your vendors are willing to help you. If they aren’t, you may have an even bigger problem to address.

We all know the adage the customer is always right, which no one may actually believe, but at the same time, we have to remember that we are just as imperfect. Donate the job to a local organization and at the very least, make some good in the world out of something bad. 

If you need help with your no-fuss refund guarantee, start by joining our Executive Management Program.

 

Shaun Damico

Director of Sales and Operations
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Every spring, a grower has to determine what crop to plant on each parcel of land. Most of the time, it behooves them to rotate the crop. One year it may be soybeans, the next year corn.  But the land is already prepared for both. 

Your practice may be the land that’s already prepared for a great ‘crop’ of team members. However, placing your team members in the right area can feel like a chess match. Where do they fit, how do they perform there, are they producing what you want them to? 

Thus lies the question, do you hire a team member for the position or do you hire the team member and train for the position? Just like rotating a crop, cross-training a team member to float from one department to another can behoove you too.

One tool that can be helpful in finding where a team member will thrive is a DISC Assessment.  This is not a test of right or wrong answers.  It is an assessment that gathers trends on how the team member approaches problems, influences and interacts with others, how they handle the pace, and how they follow the rules and procedures. This can be administered with current team members as a team-building exercise or with potential team members to place them in the ideal position, so everyone can win.

Although we still recommend face-to-face (in-person or virtual) interviews, this tool can be the next step once you’ve narrowed your candidates to your top 2 or 3.

The DISC tool looks at the four styles most associated with behaviors:

D: Drive or Dominance (approach to problems)
I: Influence (interacts and motivates others)
S: Steadiness or Support (of pace and change)
C: Compliance (with procedures set by others)

Once you are ready to administer a DISC Assessment, set-up is easy! Provide us with the candidate's first and last name and an active email address. If you are already a current Williams Group client, these are offered at no cost to you. If you are a former client of Williams Group or are interested in this tool, there is a nominal fee per assessment. Williams Group houses two DISC certified advisors ready to discuss assessments! 

The information generated by this analysis is intended to help achieve an understanding of the team members' behavioral style and to help develop strategies to increase their performance and enjoyment in the workplace.  

Not a Williams Group client, but ready to start an assessment? Get DISC Assessment information today! 

Already a Williams Group client? Contact us to start your assessments.

Michele Korth

Practice Management Coordinator
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Eyewear choices are everywhere, so why would your patient choose your practice for their eyewear needs? What sets apart optometry practices is opticians that have more than the skills of opticianry and sales. In the Optical Conversations course, we discuss how to build the relationship with the patient to establish trust and create the ultimate patient experience.  

It’s also important to establish value and the importance of proper frame and lens selection. This comes with training and understanding of your lens product.  But also, with how this information is presented to your patient. For some opticians, presenting the retail totals and summarizing the patients purchase is the most uncomfortable component of sales. The best opticians pay attention to what they say and how they say it. At the Williams Group, we want to make sure that every optician understands how to conclude sales and most importantly, that we remember that our patient care does not conclude once we dispense patients eyewear, but beyond this year and next. 

Today our optometry practices face many challenges, especially to optical revenue. As more and more eyewear options are flooding the market every day,  opticians face the real issue of effectively and efficiently closing optical sales, all the while not sacrificing the relationship we must build with our patients. We at the Williams Group believe that this is the responsibility of all team members including our doctors. We discuss and learn how to do exactly that and how to do it well within our OSC training programs. 

In our Optometric Success Center optical programs, we discuss the basics of optical, but also the techniques, semantics and best practices for your opticians.  This hyper focused training will translate into loyal patients that return to your practice for all of their eyewear needs, year after year.  

 

Want to know more about Optical Conversations? Join our Executive Management Program.

Already a member? Access our course, Optical Conversations, to learn more.

Ellie Rogers

Practice Management Director
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All too often the comment, we want to add a new frame line, comes up in a practice and yet no one seems to know if it’s a good idea or not. Do you know how you got to the number of frames you have in your office? Better yet, do you know how many frames you actually have, including the ones hiding in your lab, in totes, or in cabinets that no one can see or buy? The question is a good one, but what if we used a more logical and business-minded way to answer it? With proper dispensary management techniques, you can finally learn how to run the optical like it’s own standalone business. The answers to all of those ambiguous questions are actually best answered by way of simple math. Based on the number of patients you see in a given year, we can help clients determine what’s best for their specific practice, rather than just doing what we think everyone else is doing. It’s your business and therefore the solutions should be specific. 

Let's take a different look at how your optical is setup. Better yet,  go out to your optical, right now. Okay, stand about 20 feet from your frame displays. Do all of your frames truly look different? Do you have brands that look alike to an untrained eye or from a distance? Why not narrow down styles to where you only have one brand of flexible frames, one brand of rimless/drill-mount frames, one chunky geek-sheik line, etc. This way, your brands sell themselves rather than competing with one another. This tends to confuse the patient, who wants to know why one black frame is $150 and the one next to it is $300! By taking a different approach to your optical, you can set your practice apart and create a more enjoyable experience for your patient. 

If you're asking yourself if you should add another frame line or not, start by joining our Executive Management Program.

Already a member? Access our course, How to Buy Frames with a Purpose, to learn more.

Shaun Damico

Director of Sales and Operations
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Have you ever found yourself new to an office? In my experience, no matter what office I am at, one thing has always remained consistent; the basics. We've created the program Preliminary Testing Part 1 to establish a foundation that could transpire with you at any office within the industry.  Learning common preliminary tests and instrumentation can directly impact the productivity of the office. New staff members can quickly and easily immerse themselves into high demand work flow areas.  

How else might you utilize this Optometric Success Center program? Have you ever had a staff member unexpectedly call-in unable to come into work and you suddenly find yourself short staffed? But with a full schedule, we must keep going! When you implement these basics with each staff member, you develop a baseline towards cross training at your office. Every role in your office would benefit from knowing these essential skills and introductory information to preliminary tests and common instrumentation. When you implement a cross training protocol, you also create a team mentality and establish a uniform expectation.  

If your office has ever been in situations where a patient is waiting due to only a few staff members being trained on a specific area, this program is for you! Eliminate the barriers that prevent your patients from coming back after a great experience at your office as we continue to work toward reducing wait time.  

A general overview of the program includes education, instrumentation review, scripting samples, and common patient feedback and responses. Let this program help you onboard a new team member or elevate education of your current staff to increase efficiency at your office. Our hope is to inspire anyone new to the industry or motive development for seasoned Eye Care Professionals with this program. To owners, associates, and management; use this as a guide on where to start with staff training.

Invest in the education and development of your staff with Preliminary Testing Part 1! Join our Executive Management Program.

Already a member? Access our program, Preliminary Testing Part 1, to learn more.

Maritza Castilleja

Executive Management Coach
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Imagine you are a brand new employee and you answer the phone in the office. After a rehearsed, professional, and pleasant greeting, you ask, "how may I help you this morning?" 

A young man answers, "I have to get in to see someone today!" His voice is shaky and he sounds like he is in pain. As a new employee, you can feel your heart rate going up and you are sitting up straighter, questioning what do I do now? 

  1. Be calm– Think emergency dispatcher. No matter how dire the situation, your job requires clearheaded thinking and compassionate communication. 
  2. Initiate your triage strategy - Pull up the form and begin asking the questions. Start with their name and the best contact number, then work your way methodically down the question list. 
  3. Offer just in time care - What if it turns out that the dire situation is that the young man is leaving on a weeklong heli-skiing trip tomorrow and he just realized he is out of daily contact lenses? In our opinion, the best way to ensure that your optometric business continues to succeed is to always accommodate a patients request just in time. Sure, the young man might need to be strategically scheduled later in the day if his prescription has expired, since this is hardly a medical emergency. Still, it's a valid emergency to him. Honor that feeling and work him in. Make him feel like he is a priority to you. If you don’t, he'll likely take his business elsewhere.

Triage is one of the most stressful responsibilities in medical reception. Make sure all of your employees, new and established, are clear on your scheduling philosophy (just in time or otherwise), and have the most effective tools at their fingertips to handle those calls. This will go a long way in helping your team feel confident in how they handle the patient on the other end of the line. 

Plan of action:  

  • In your next staff meeting, review your phone triage procedures and tools (10 minutes) 
  • Divide up into pairs and role play triage calls (15 minutes) 
  • Debrief as a team to answer any questions and consider any ideas that arise during the role play  

Get help with implementing a just in time philosophy in your office today! Join our Executive Management Program.

Bess Ogden

Director of Education and Training
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One of my favorite songs is “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers. A lovely day in optometry is one in which every templated appointment on your schedule has been used by a well-cared for patient. In this world of pandemics, traffic, homeschooling, after-school activities, meetings, services, and at times overwhelming busy-ness, your patients will no-show, cancel, and reschedule. It’s always been a challenge to the practice and Covid-19 has made it harder than ever to control. Don’t blame your patients! You know exactly how they feel on those not so lovely days.

If there were ever a time to have a carefully crafted, consistently kept Patient Courtesy List, THIS IS THAT TIME. You are providing a courtesy to your patients, and this strategic tool can make or break your business. Your entire team must know how to professionally gather the relevant information while scheduling. It’s not hard, but it takes intent: ”At times Dr. Jo has a change in her schedule. If this happens may we contact you to offer you an earlier appointment? About how much notice would you need to get to the office? 20 minutes? An hour?” This information must be logged accurately and made available to everyone on the team at a minute’s notice.

When an opening in the schedule occurs, the whole crew must be poised to leap into action, implementing your sliding schedule strategies to fill that opening as soon as possible. Your primary receptionist or Patient Care Facilitator will lead the charge and will call in the rest of the troops, if assistance is needed. Be ready.

Give yourself a safety net that you can employ if you just can’t fill those open slots before they pass by. The safety net can take many forms, from opening up lunch slots, to later night slots, to unblocking an admin Friday afternoon. Keep in mind the purpose of a safety net: It’s only there in case you fall/fail. If you are all using your Courtesy Lists and Sliding Schedule procedures well, you’ll rarely need to use it. You’ll be glad you have it, though, when you need to use it!

Here’s to fewer lost days, and more lovely days ahead.

Let us help you implement a carefully crafted, consistent Patient Courtesy List within your practice. 

Join our Executive Management Program today!

Bess Ogden

Director of Education and Training
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