IDOC actively shares industry-focused articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos and other thought leadership with our members and other optometric practitioners. Below, you will find links to our growing library of educational materials and multi-media assets written and created by IDOC's team of seasoned industry experts.
Patricia Basile | 10/16/2018

Change is scary, risky and very necessary.  Changing anything from small policies to major remodels can be very tense. But it is worth some degree of discomfort to give a jolt of energy to a business that may need just that. Take some time to evaluate the physical look of your office and your media presence. Then think about the staff, the roles they play and the general level of morale in the office. Finally, what might you change about the procedures, policies and schedules.

Take a series of pictures. Start from the street, then to the sidewalk outside, the first things patients see when they come through the door. Then take pictures of each of the pre-test and exam rooms, the frame displays and dispense area. View this series of pictures as critically as you can.

You will see some flaws that are very easily corrected. Remove everything from countertops and dispense tables. Remove all the existing marketing materials, analyze these for what is relevant and what needs updating. Sometimes just removing clutter and outdated signage elevates the mood in the office. If you want to take it further, try some of the following to change things up.


  • Painting can add a little cheer without a lot of expense
  • Furniture. If you are not ready to purchase new furniture, consider removing cabinets, tower displays, anything that takes up floor space.
  • Clean and organize all displays
  • Sort and display the frames by brand and within the brands (‘Vendorizing’)
  • Be sure the children’s section looks inviting - fun and colorful
  • Remove stale inventory
  • Introduce a new frame line - prominently display and build a marketing plan around it


  • Review your marketing plan and materials and align them with the image you want to portray
  • Evaluate the website and the instore marketing materials
  • Have a product show around the new frames and sunglasses
  • Consider having a Grand Re-opening event, enlist your frame vendors and representatives to participate

Patient Care

How would you describe the patient experience? Everything is important, from the first look at the website, to the appointment process, the greeting upon arrival, throughout the exam and all the way through to receiving their eyewear.  One thing many practices overlook is having technicians talk the patient through the process. This includes explaining each of the procedures they will be doing, why it is done and what they will experience, before performing the test or procedure.  This includes the optometrist performing the exam.


Evaluate your staff from your point of view as well as theirs. How would you describe the work experience for the staff? Do they feel challenged? Supported? Appreciated? If not, there are actions you can take to make a change in the atmosphere of the practice.

Get feedback with a completely anonymous survey. Ask about what issues are causing stress, what are the positive aspects of the job:

  • Do they feel that there are enough continuing education and career enhancement opportunities?
  • Are they offered enough information about products and services?
  • Ask if they are happy with the dress code, would they prefer to go to scrubs (or away from scrubs)
  • Ask what incentives are important to them, with specific suggestions that you are willing to provide.
    • For instance, have them rate in order of importance:
  • Salary
  • PTO
  • Schedule consistency
  • Flexibility with schedule
  • Educational offerings
  • Advancement opportunities

Take the information from the survey and formulate a new plan going forward. Create a plan for changes that are reasonable for your business. This plan should also include a request for renewed commitment from the staff.

Change the emphasis for performance reviews, making pleasant attitude more heavily weighted than sales metrics. Concern for fellow team members, although harder to measure, is critically important to observe and reward.

Have a staff meeting to introduce these changes, making sure they know that the motivation for these changes is to improve the work experience and, as a result, the patient experience.


A great way to reenergize the appointment book is to reach out to your neighboring merchants and employers in your area. Let them know that you accept their vision plan and you welcome their business.

Participate in community activities, health fairs, festivals, etc. Provide a basket for raffles at holiday fairs at nursing homes, including eyeglass accessories that are branded with your practice information and gift certificates.


Do you offer convenient hours for your patients? There should be at least one day with extended hours and/or a short shift on Saturday mornings. This may give you more flexibility to add hours for some staff members and these slots will usually fill very quickly. Or if the opposite is true, and you have very extended hours, but you are not filling the appointment book efficiently, then condensing the hours makes more sense.


How can you improve your own general work experience? This is not only about the staff and patients, but your sense of contentment with where you work as well. Complete the survey mentioned earlier right along with your staff. It may be an eye opener to think about how you feel about going to the office every day. Would adding a new associate, part-time or fulltime, improve your comfort level, work load or income?

Determine which of these actions will give you the most positive impact. If you want to make gradual changes, take the plan one step at a time. If you want dramatic change, implement several components. Either way, be sure to set a date to implement each item that you believe will bring positive change to your practice. And make it happen!

For more optometry information like this, just head back to our blog


Pat Basile

Optical Management Consultant




Patricia Basile
Optical Management Consultant
Pat Basile has extensive experience in sales, customer service, management and laboratory operations in the optical field. Licensed in Connecticut and certified by the ABO and NCLE, she has had great success in developing and implementing growth plans, providing training and leadership to achieve greater sales and productivity results. She believes that the consumer is much better served by the personal care provided by small, independent and caring optometric practices. Pat will listen to your concerns and help you identify those things that can be done to bring your practice to the next level. Some of these things may include training and setting goals for sales and customer service, inventory management and frame board management.
Trending Blogs

1/24/2022 | Author: Steven Festa

Does hearing SEO make your eyes glaze over a bit and cause your mind to wander? If you answered yes, then you are not alone. While tough to grasp initially, SEO is important for your practice, and as providers of Read more

1/10/2022 | Author: Nathan Hayes

It’s a new year, which means that practice owners—and your IDOC consultants, for that matter—are reflecting on last year’s achievements and setting revenue goals for 2022.

As you set your 2022 revenue goals, don’t forget to celebrate the wins from last... Read more

11/19/2021 | Author: Geronda Wollack

I was on the couch with my wife during our daily “be present and reset” routine which includes reminiscing about our day, watching our favorite shows, and just being present with one another. Out of nowhere, she asked me a question that I wasn’t expecting- “Oh wait, what happened with the paid... Read more

10/26/2021 | Author: Steven Festa

Perhaps you're a recent graduate from Optometry School, or maybe you have spent time working in a corporate optometry practice, or even as an associate OD at an independent practice, and you have decided to go out on your own and open your own optometry... Read more

10/5/2021 | Author: Ximara Vega

How often do you think about your experiences as a consumer? What comes to mind when you reflect on positive interactions? How about negative? I don’t know about you, but for me the negative experiences are much more vivid. Many of those interactions occurred with someone who was well... Read more

9/30/2021 | Author: Amy Alvarez

When I was a retail manager, this would happen to me often. An employee would tell me they didn’t complete an important assigned task, or they would call out for their shift. And I could see it from both sides. They had a lot of conflicting responsibilities that day and yet, this task would... Read more

6/23/2021 | Author: Ximara Vega

School has ended and most of the world has opened back up. Many people I know have multiple weekend getaways, road trips and vacations scheduled because they are making up for lost time. You know what that means? We are surrounded by opportunities to sell sun!!!! The only problem is not... Read more

6/14/2021 | Author: Amy Alvarez

If you are recruiting staff for your practice, you are probably experiencing hiring woes. Some are new - it is a tight job market. Not everyone is able to go back to work depending on their individual circumstances and some employers need more employees than before to meet their current... Read more

5/5/2021 | Author: Nathan Hayes

With the spike in patient demand following the COVID-19 Pandemic, many owners are actively recruiting associate ODs to help carry their increased demand. And any owner looking to hire an associate right now knows that the market is tight.

My feeling is we have an outright shortage of... Read more

3/30/2021 | Author: Geronda Wollack

Managing your staff can be challenging! Am I right? Or am I right? Now, managing your staff and feeling confident with whether you are being compliant poses a different level of challenges. I will share a story to illustrate this challenge.

I had a consult with an Office Manager who... Read more

© 2022 IDOC. All Rights Reserved