By Maria Sampalis, OD
Oct. 31, 2018
When many people–maybe most–think of working on a Saturday, they groan with displeasure. Having a Saturday to yourself, to spend with friends and family, is a wonderful thing, but it’s also a wonderful thing to be able to accommodate your patients.
People are increasingly living complex, busy lives, with many commitments. Keeping your office open on a Saturday is one way to make their lives a little easier. If you don’t step up and offer patients the convenience of Saturday hours, they may find another office that does offer it to them.
My patients have shown me they highly appreciate Saturday hours, as it’s our busiest day. I see double the patients on Saturday as I do on other days of the week, which means I am generating double the revenue on Saturdays compared to week days. It’s so important for me to have my office open on Saturdays that I let prospective employees know before they accept the job that working on Saturdays is a requirement.
You Can Both Serve Patients & Salvage the Day
Just because you agree to work Saturdays doesn’t mean the whole day has to be lost. I leave room for flexibility in my schedule on Saturdays, seeing how the appointments end up falling. For instance, some Saturdays, I get in at
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7:30 a.m., but I’m out by 1:30 p.m., while other Saturdays, I may start later and end later.
In either case, I am able to still carve out at least several hours, in the morning, or late afternoon, to spend with my husband and children.
People Like Early Mornings on Saturdays (Believe it or Not)
I’ve found that, surprisingly (to those who like to sleep in on the weekends) many people like early morning appointments on Saturdays, so they can get their appointment over with, and then have the rest of the day to themselves, or to run errands.
Just as I love getting my appointments for the day finished by mid-afternoon, my patients also want to get the day’s obligations, including doctor’s appointments, done, so they can move onto the other parts of their day off.
Remember, People Get Paid on Fridays
Another advantage to working Saturdays is many people get paid on Fridays, so they have money to spend on the products you sell. They may come to your office on a Saturday with a mindset that’s more open to making a purchase.
When you recommend specific products to them in the exam room, which your opticians follow-up on in the optical, it’s easier for a person who has just been paid to say yes.
They Have More Time to Shop
As eager as people are to be on their way, they have more time on a Saturday to browse the products in your optical, and converse with opticians about lifestyle options for eyewear.
It’s hard getting into a long, in-depth conversation about eyewear needs if you’re rushing to make it to the office after your appointment, or if you’re rushing to get home in time to get dinner on the table.
Saturdays can be busy, too, but with the elimination of work obligations for most people, Saturday at the eye doctor’s office means a chance to take a deep breath, and maybe spend an extra 10 minutes, or so, fully exploring the options in your optical.
People Are Happier on Saturdays
Along with greater scheduling freedom on Saturdays, people often are in a better mood on the weekend. The stress of work is temporarily lifted for most, so they may arrive at your office in a better mood than they would rushing to see you straight from the office.
With a more upbeat, energetic mood, patients may be more inclined to look for enjoyment during their time in your office, rather than solely seeing their visit as a chore to dispense with.
Your office should always be a comfortable, enjoyable place to visit, but on Saturdays, it might pay to go the extra mile, and maybe once in a while invite local musicians to play in the office, a local artist to showcase a few works of art, or a trunk show to be on display with vendors on hand to answer questions about their products.
Ramp Up the Saturday Fun
Around the holidays, you could even offer light refreshments like egg nog and holiday cookies, and maybe even a grab-bag for patients who visit on a holiday season Saturday, in which they pick at random, raffle-style, from a bag with coupons for various eyewear product discounts.
If your “fun Saturdays” work out well during the holiday season, you could do it year-round, looking for ways to make Saturdays a special day to visit your office.
Patients want scheduling flexibility and the chance to relax, and find greater enjoyment in their lives. Accommodating the desire for Saturday appointments–and making it fun while patients are there–is one important way to show patients why they should choose your office over your competitors.
Is your office open on Saturdays? Do you do anything special on Saturdays to make it a fun day to visit your office?
Maria Sampalis, OD, practices at Sampalis Eye Care in Warwick RI. She is also the founder of Corporate Optometry on Facebook. Dr. Sampalis is also founder of the new job site corporateoptometrycareers.com and www.corporateoptometry.com. She is available for practice management consulting. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org