Quality customer service is of upmost important to Kim Uyen Nguyen, OD. “I hated walking into a doctor’s office into a room of 20 people waiting, and no one even looks up at you,” she says. “We treat patients like friends and family—how we (staff and I) would like to be treated.” It’s a philosophy that she’s been following for years in terms of patient care since her 2011 graduation from University of Houston College of Optometry. She worked in a number of settings prior to optometry school—commercial, ophthalmology, private optometry practices—and upon graduating, knew that private practice would be the happiest place for her.
Being a new grad with lots of debts and no equity, it was difficult to obtain a loan; so She took on a sublease instead, saving her money with a plan to expand to a private practice. Dr. Nguyen started scouting locations out just a few years in. A top requirement was that it had to be a good neighborhood where she could raise her family. She was familiar with Richardson, Texas, from frequenting its parks, and when she was driving through the area to a friend’s house, she noticed a lot of land for lease. She secured her spot in October 2014 and began the waiting game as the building itself had to be constructed before she could get started. The good news is that in the time it took to complete, all of the spots in the strip filled up and she’s accompanied by great neighbors in a dentist, hair salon, boba shop and more! There’s a lot of foot traffic passing by as parents and children pass by walking on their way to school.
Dr. Nguyen consulted a friend who is an architect of luxury homes for help in designing the office space for Perception Eyecare and Eyewear. They used a combination of a high ceiling and other “perceptual” visual elements. When you walk into the optical, the ceiling and walls appears to have an optical illusion that plus with your visual perception. The optical has a boutique style with a clean look and lots of white. “I didn’t want the space to feel and look like that of a typical doctor’s office; I wanted a space that was homey and comfortable.”
Doors opened to the office in May 2016, and two of Dr. Nguyen’s staff member from her sublease made the transition with her, making it a total of 5 members today. “I hire for personality,” she says. “Experience is great, but I hire people who are nice, who seem genuine and who care.” The process takes often months, but the rewards are great. She also involves her current team with the hiring process. “I want to know what they think since they will be working together.”
Dr. Nguyen also hired an associate in January 2019 and helped cover Dr. Nguyen’s maternity leave, which began the next month in February. They still split patient care days; Dr. Nguyen sees patients on a part-time basis so that she can be at home with her son. The new location is about 15 minutes away from where her sublease office, so she was thankful to have some patients follow her. The office supports many local programs such as the PTA, sports teams and 5K race fundraisers. Often Dr. Nguyen and her staff will attend these events together, and their positive reputation in the community has continued to grow. The team is very involved in the community from volunteering at health fairs often, donating and volunteering their time to non-profits in the community. Giving back was one reason why she picked this career path.
Dr. Nguyen envisions another move once her lease is up. She’s halfway through it now, and while she loves her office, she admits that they are already starting to outgrow the space, and she advises her colleagues that it might not be a bad idea to go a little bigger than you think you need. Even when she obtains a larger footprint, she plans to keep the personalized experience the same. “When patients walks in, we know who they are and what we talked about last year,” she says. “We make patients feel special with an exam that’s catered for them.”