As I write, LaFollette Eye Clinic is in the middle of our annual Patient Appreciation Week. Everyone is enjoying snacks, drinks, and meals on us – not to mention some of the best eyewear deals all year. But what are we appreciating, exactly?
A Dizzy Gift Shop
When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to work at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. I worked the gift shop at the exit of the Big Bad Wolf, a suspended roller coaster.
It was a blast to see people come staggering off the ride, laughing and excited. Many wanted a souvenir, and I was happy to help.
It was then that I got a taste of what it was like to step into other peoples’ lives for just a few minutes. I wanted to leave them better than when we first met.
This year I celebrated 25 years as a member of the American Optometric Association. A lot has changed since those days at the amusement park. But some things are the same.
There’s no way to go back and count the thousands of people I have introduced to the visual lifestyle. And, there’s no way to measure the impact all of those people have had on me.
I often learn as much or more from my patients as they do from me. I think the entire team at LaFollette Eye Clinic would agree.
So while every week is a great week for us, this week is a little different. We get to reflect on the blessing it really is for us to serve our community. After all, our patients are our family, friends, and neighbors.
Here are four reasons Patient Appreciation Week is special to us:
- Seeing patients is our passion. That’s not just a cliché. Years ago I thought I had to convince workers that that patients were special. Not so. We all love what we do and want to do our best. For example, we keep a large dry-erase board to highlight our team’s great customer service. Every month we erase it, and every month it fills up again.
- Our patients support us. Our community has trusted us for eye care for over thirty years. We understand it’s a choice, and we don’t take it lightly. In the past few years we have moved to an award winning location, added to our team, and been named one of America’s Finest Optical Retailers. None of that would be possible without the support of our patients.
- Our patients tell others. Nearly fifteen years ago, a worker exclaimed, “Where are all these new patients coming from?” Even today, about one third of our patients are new to us. That speaks volumes about how our loyal patients are telling others about us. And for that, we’re grateful.
- Our patients care about us. Whether one of us has a baby or an illness, our patients are right there laughing or crying with us. I’ll never forget the day we had to tell our patients we lost our beloved pet iguana, Bubba. Many of our patients cried that day, simply because they knew we were heartbroken.
When we were planning our new location, my wife Liz said one thing that laid the foundation for the entire project: “It needs to be a happy place.” So I expected the design, colors, and our team to contribute to that concept. But many times, our patients are the reason it’s such a happy place.
And that by itself is a great reason to celebrate Patient Appreciation Week.