New tech to streamline optoms’ admin
Two of WorkRex’s three Kiwi co-founders, optometrist Jing Chen and Lance Qian

New tech to streamline optoms’ admin

June 9, 2024 Staff reporters

The Kiwi developers of WorkRex, an all-in-one customer engagement platform for independent optometry practices in Australia and New Zealand, have raised $220,000 from venture capital company Skalata to grow the business.

Many business owners want marketing support but are not sure where to start or can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars each month to hire an agency, said WorkRex co-developer Lance Qian, a former McKinsey consultant. “With growth being the top priority for more than half of the optometry practices we spoke to, we’re excited to provide a simple, accessible and, most importantly, secure solution.”

The Kiwi trio of Qian, optometrist Jing Chen and software engineer Myron Liu is also behind Locumly, a locum optometrist-booking platform. Used by one in five optometry practices across Australia, Locumly’s expansion into New Zealand is part of the long-term plan, said Qian.

WorkRex solves the problem of relying on footfall to generate retention opportunities for customers, explained Chen. Practices can engage their customers via instant, personalised communication on SMS and WhatsApp, she said. “The secure AI assistant automates 80% of the admin associated with generating reviews, doing promotions, taking bookings, re-activating lost customers and coordinating the practice team, (allowing) practice owners to get back to what they love doing most.”

With online ratings a valuable first port-of-call for many potential customers, WorkRex can also help generate Google reviews, said Qian. “Following an appointment, (Workrex) automatically messages the patient to ask for feedback. This message includes a link to the practice’s Google review page.” The software platform can also create and send tasks to team members’ phones, he said. “This is for things like responding to unread customer messages or appointment booking requests which aren't yet connected to the store's appointment book.” Although the platform doesn’t support social media campaigns or messaging yet, that functionality has been requested by some existing customers so will be part of a future WorkRex update, he said.

The cost of WorkRex depends on the size of the practice, said Qian. “It's an affordable subscription model with no setup fees and no lock-in contracts.”

Skalata’s funding will help the team build a broader set of features to cater for businesses globally, said Qian. “But New Zealand is where we grew up and were educated, so we'd love to be able to achieve our mission to support independent optometry there.”