Rod Tahran, OD of Essilor, another program sponsor, introduces
some of the day’s speakers.
PORTLAND, Ore.—“Exceeding Patient Expectations for Amazing Financial Results” was the theme of a special one-day Management & Business Academy (MBA) program here last month. Some 87 participants, including optometrists and staff, took part in the MBA session, which was sponsored by CIBA VISION and Essilor. The distributor and buying group OOGP partnered with the MBA sponsors in promoting the event.

Chris Caracci of the Disney Institute presented the opening lecture and drew parallels between the guest-focused philosophy of the Disney Company and the patient-focused mission of the optometric practice. “Every Cast Member holds our reputation in their hands,” said Caracci, in reference to the Disney term for employee. Eight of 10 letters that we receive from guests are about our people, not our products.”

Caracci cited a series of real-life experiences in which Disney Cast Members were able to transform a potentially negative experience (a lost car, an exhausted family) into a magical experience. “This happened because a Cast Member understood that they serve a higher purpose than just the task they are assigned,” he explained. Routinely, a Disney park custodian will put down his or her broom and offer to take a family photo that includes rather than excludes a mom or dad. “That person’s job description says custodian, but his or her purpose is to create happiness,” Caracci said.

The need to focus on serving patient needs was reinforced by MBA faculty members who followed Caracci with a full-day of presentations on providing world-class service. Carole Burns, OD, spoke on “Best Practices to Increase Spectacle Lens Patient Satisfaction and Profits,” as well as “Best Practices to Increase Contact Lens Patient Satisfaction and Profits.” She emphasized the importance of measuring against professional benchmarks in order to effect growth.


Carole Burns, OD spoke about best practices for spectacle lens
and contact lens patients.

Following the lunch break, the group, about a 60/40 staff to OD ratio, split into separate two-hour workshops. Mark Wright, OD, led the doctors, presenting “Recruiting, Training and Motivating a World-Class Service Team.” The session covered practical aspects of hiring, training and motivating a top service team. At the same time, Neil Gailmard, OD, led a workshop for office staff, “Delivering Consistently Exceptional Patient Experiences.” Dr. Gailmard solicited a host of real-practice situations from the audience (exam fee inquiries, damaged frames, unaccompanied minors seeking an exam) and then challenged participants to creatively solve problems and take ownership of situations.

Dr. Wright provided a meeting wrap-up that tied in Disney concepts with optometric practice goals. “The key to making change happen is identifying problems and prioritizing what needs to be changed first,” he instructed the attendees. “And finally you need to set aside resources to make that change happen.” 

Chris Caracci of the Disney Institute drew parallels between the
company’s guest-focused philosophy and the patient-focused
mission of the optometric practice.

Neil Gailmard, OD, led a workshop for office staff focusing on
“Delivering Consistently Exceptional Patient Experiences.”

Mark Wright, OD, led the doctors in a workshop titled “Recruiting,
Training and Motivating a World-Class Service Team.”

Dwight Akerman, OD of CIBA VISION, one of the sponsors of the
MBA progam.

Roger Mummert, Executive Editor, Practice Advancement Associates