Exceptional office managers are worth their weight in gold. At a minimum, an administrative manager is the face of the practice and often the first person existing patients and prospective ones encounter. They are natural problem solvers, have strong communication skills, and serve as the point of contact between the practice and other critical parties.
Why hire an office manager? The business side of an optometry office is just as critical to the practice’s success as the clinical aspect. And together, the front office staff and the optometry team can set and achieve goals. That’s why finding the right optical office manager can be a high-stakes process.
Not sure where to start when hiring an optometry office manager? Interested in best practices for retaining a top-performing administrator? Consider the following:
An optical office manager will be tasked with a variety of duties ranging from patient intake to billing. The range of responsibilities will differ according to the size and scope of the office. Regardless, in order to find the best match, the person doing the hiring must flesh out a detailed job description that aligns with the short- and long-term goals of the practice. Needs will evolve with time, but the candidate must have a clear understanding of what’s being asked of him or her. You can never be too specific, but more than anything, you need to be realistic in your demands.
As this person is the linchpin in the practice’s operations, he or she needs to be compensated accordingly. Do your research to determine a fair starting salary and reward the person with raises and bonuses when appropriate to encourage loyalty. The top reason people leave jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated.
The interview process can sometimes only scratch the surface. Candidates may interview well, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be the best fit for the role. For this reason, you will need to either rely on a structured interview with deep, scenario-specific questions, or set up a “practical” interview where candidates demonstrate or apply their skills in the office setting. Working interviews can provide a look into the person’s emotional intelligence and decision-making skills.
Once you hire the right person, there’s still work to do in the form of ongoing rapport building and communication. Doctors might feel like they are removed from the financial side of the business, so that makes it all the more important that they make a point to meet with the administrative manager as time allows. A monthly check in can provide a snapshot of goals, challenges, and opportunities.
You might discover your stellar optical office manager is skilled in other areas outside their day-to-day duties. For example, perhaps they have a marketing background or have a knack for numbers. Maybe you enlist them to help with social media campaigns or even assist with payroll. Empower them to use their talents and expertise to the fullest extent so they feel like they are adding value.
In short, hiring an optometry office manager can be time and resource intensive, but the work pays off in the form of exceptional patient experience and well-run practice. And happy patients beget more happy patients!
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