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Optometry Practice Management Tip – Puppy Breath

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The following optometry practice management tip highlights why we give out snacks in our practice, and how we do it.

My wife and I are raising a service dog for Canine Companions for Independence.

His name is Fers, and he accompanies me to the office. What strikes me is that everyone who stumbles upon Fers exclaims, “A puppy!  Does he have puppy breath?”doggy

I’m familiar with the sometimes repugnant breath radiating from our dog’s jowls, so I did not understand the positive association many possessed towards puppy’s breath!

So, why do so many people almost unanimously ask if they can smell Fers’ breath? Scientists have a name of the hormone that’s secreted during a puppy encounter; it’s called Oxytocin.

Perhaps it’s the puppy’s loose skin, innocence, or cuddliness that helps us secrete this feel-good hormone, but it’s certainly not the smell of the breath itself.

So, what does this have to do with growing your practice, or optometry practice management tips?

One word:  “SNACKS!”

I’m dismayed when I ask past SCYP attendees what type of snacks they provide for their pediatric patients, and they respond with bewilderment.

Sometimes it’s the simplest practice management techniques which are the hardest to implement, even though they’re inexpensive and effective.

Sadly, many invest their marketing dollars in advertising, referral incentives, and brochures.

I’ve subconsciously viewed a pediatric visit as an opportunity to establish positive feelings with my office, kind of like “puppy breath.”

There are few incentives for children to visit our offices when you take a moment to think about it; office visits take children away from an activity like school, homework, and can induce stress.

Our patients often state, “You’re our favorite doctor’s office!”

It can’t be our examination or the long drive or the hour spent at our office that creates this positive association.

I’d venture to say it’s the snacks we provide at each and every visit…often more than one!

Not ordinary snacks; snacks worthy of creating a positive association with visiting our office. An experience so laudable, a sibling gladly accompanies for the prizes at the end of the visit, praiseworthy of telling others how much their children like coming to their eye doctor….sort of like puppy breath!

So view your snack drawer, if you even have one,  and ask yourself, “Does it smell like puppy’s breath?”

Watch the following brief video that reviews how and why we give out multiple snacks to our pediatric patients.

With Chinese New Year upon us, we also share how we celebrate in our office. Hope this little bit of “food for thought” helps you!

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About Nick Despotidis OD, FCOVD, FAAO, FIOA

Nick Despotidis
Nick Despotidis practices in Hamilton, NJ with two partners, Barry Tannen and Ivan Lee. Their multi-disciplinary practice offers a variety for specialty services including vision rehabilitation, treatment of vision related learning problems, and specialty contact lenses. Together they have one of the largest practices in the country. Nick is the lead author of the book, My Children are Nearsighted Too and his practice management workshop, SuperChargeYourPractice, is one of the most highly attended workshops offered at the American Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control annual symposium.

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