In the instant that a consumer identifies a need or want for a product or service, he or she becomes a shopper. A popular marketing concept describes the path to purchase (PTP) that shoppers take from the time they recognize their need until they decide to make a purchase. The good news is that, while on the PTP, shoppers will be open to receiving marketing messages.
In the case of an ophthalmology practice, however, shoppers are on two-separate-yet-related paths—one for their eyecare, and one for their eyewear. Because this is a concept that many ophthalmic practices overlook, let’s look at this phenomenon a little closer. Let’s start with the eye examination.
The first phone call
The primary goal of any marketing effort is to make your telephone ring. This justifies your efforts using social media, website, or other more traditional forms of advertising to drive new patient traffic to your office. It should not be surprising then that on the PTP for the eye examination, the shopper will almost always contact your practice via the telephone.
Therefore, the front-office (or call center) person answering the telephone must be extremely personable, well trained, and competent. They are the first customer-facing practice representatives that patients encounter. That first telephone interaction is critical because it can influence the subsequent contact patients will have with other staff members as they move through your office, with the final interaction being in your optical dispensary.
From a dispensary standpoint, it is important to keep in mind that once the patient has made the appointment, the PTP for the eye examination is completed.