Big. Small. New. Established. CooperVision’s Best Practices are different, but they share a common goal: To deliver exceptional care to patients, even in the face of increasing competition and challenges. Established in 2015, Best Practices recognizes and celebrates the visionary, innovative, and unexpected aspects of care delivery that best serve patients and advance the profession. In this series of articles, CooperVision’s 2018 class of Best Practices honorees will be highlighted, one by one, to uncover and share some unique aspects of their practices that help them thrive—with hope that other practitioners may garner inspiration to bolster their own success. This month, Carrie Alﬁeri, OD, of Pinnacle Eye Associates in McKinney, Texas, discusses how her investment in her staff is key to her success.
Q: How did Pinnacle Eye Associates get its start?
I opened cold in 2003 and have built it all from scratch. I feel it’s something really special. Over the last 15 years, we have been voted “Best Optometrist in McKinney” eleven times, and I have twice been selected as one of the Top 25 Women in Business in McKinney.
Q: What professional services do you offer?
We provide full-scope eye care, including comprehensive eye exams, dry eye therapy, specialty contact lenses and Ortho-K. We also provide medical eye care such as treatment for glaucoma, macular degeneration, and more. If it’s related to eye care, you’ll ﬁ nd it under our roof.
Q: How do you keep yourself current on the latest developments in eye care? Your staff?
I’m a diplomate of the American Board of Optometry, so I utilize their platforms and complete about 50 hours of continuing education each year. I encourage my team to be certiﬁ ed with the American Optometric Association, and I pay for those certiﬁcations. An educated staff makes the practice smarter, and patients notice. Overall, we’re able to serve them better.
Q: What is your approach to recruiting and hiring staff?
I hire for attitude and train for skill. It’s a key to success in customer service.
Q: How do you model or encourage leadership?
I lead by example; attitude comes from the top. I empower my staff to make decisions, and stand by them, even if it’s not necessarily the right decision. If it’s wrong, I use it as a teaching opportunity, but always stand by them in front of patients.
Q: What single piece of advice would you offer a practitioner about to open a new practice?
You get out of it what you put into it. Don’t be afraid to fail. It is so rewarding to watch something you’ve built grow from the ground up. And don’t underestimate the inﬂ uence you can have on people’s lives.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing today's practitioners? How do you overcome it?
We’re seeing the commoditization of our industry. In our practice, we have imple-mented processes to provide superior customer service—a level that patients can’t ﬁ nd online. We have adopted products and systems that enable us to continue to compete.
Q: What does being a Best Practice mean to you?
It is a huge honor. I’m excited to share our best practices and trade secrets with my colleagues and learn from them as well.
Congratulations to Dr. Alﬁeri and Pinnacle Eye Associates! This year’s honorees will collaborate to tackle the most demanding chal-lenges of contemporary optometric practice. For more information about the program, its honorees (both current and past), and updates about how they are working together to advance the profession, visit www.eyecarebestpractices.com.