Running an office requires wearing several hats. Although we’re constantly involved in clinically managing patients and optimizing outcomes, we also need to be cognizant of our business model and how patients are perceiving the whole office experience. One of the things that can become challenging is when employees report being “too busy” even though the doctor’s schedule may not reflect that the office was busy. Additionally, what can also be frustrating is when the doctor’s schedule seems busy and employees seem like they’re not busy. Often times this disconnect occurs because the doctor is in the exam rooms seeing and treating patients while technicians, opticians, and front desk employees are on the front lines working with patients and managing the office.
Business intelligence provides us the opportunity to understand what’s happening in our offices when we’re not physically present in certain parts of the practice. It also allows us to determine whether or not we are sufficiently supported with adequate employees or in of need more employees. Leveraging and understanding phone calls coming into and out of the office is critical to understanding this.
The global pandemic forced us to change certain business practices. We used to allow patients to walk into the office and pick up glasses, contact lenses and make appointments and payments. When we came back to the office after the shutdown in 2020, we started scheduling all pick-ups in the practice. We realized very quickly that this added efficiencies as we could plan for the patients that were coming into the office that day.
In 2020, when we started seeing patients for exams and routine care, we initially spaced out the doctors’ schedules so that they were seeing fewer patients throughout the day. Employees that were answering phones, caring for patients in the optical and caring for patients picking up other optical goods were describing how busy it was in the front portion of the office. It wasn’t obvious from the schedule because the one thing that our schedule didn’t show us was the number of phone calls that were coming into the practice. Weave provided us with business intelligence to help us understand our business model better.
Tracking incoming and outcoming phone calls from the office provided us the opportunity to understand exactly when we were spending time on phone calls throughout the day. It helped explain why the number of patients that were on our schedule was not the only factor in determining the workload in the practice and offered insight as to why at times the employees felt extremely busy when the schedule didn’t necessarily seem any busier. Not knowing the number of phone calls that were coming into the practice made it very difficult to understand why other team members were letting us know that it was busy that day at the office and at times overwhelming. An analysis of phone calls and the times those phone calls were coming in gave us the data we needed to analyze our current business.
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The interesting part about the phone analysis is that it not only gives you the number of phone calls and the times they are occurring but also allows you to see those individuals that are answering the phone calls most frequently. It allows you to evaluate which phones are being answered as well. Although there will be some variability in individuals answering phones from any one phone, it does provide some basis to help determine who may be answering the phone more or less frequently.
Understanding the busiest times for phone calls in the office allows you to strategically coordinate when you may need more employees in the office to help with the extra workload that the phone calls bring. Although there may never be a perfectly planned day, it certainly does help us manage and monitor these things better by giving us a better understanding of what’s happening outside of the exam rooms.
Watch a Weave demo to get the data your optometry practice needs to analyze your current phone calls and other areas of business.