Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Donna Suter, president of Suter Consulting Group. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Advanstar.
A patient with poorly fabricated eyewear is the strongest predictor of a future surgical complaint.
I have heard this statement more than once at professional meetings. It speaks to the truth that patients do not segregate their experiences in your office. Patients, also called consumers in this blog, do not know how to evaluate eye surgeries or treatment plans, but can quickly evaluate the fit and vision from spectacle eyewear.
Balance patient satisfaction in an optical that accepts vision plans with a higher level of patient satisfaction found in plan upgrades and retail-for-fee-items. Many patients will gladly pay for items not covered by vision plan providers if these items improve the quality of their lives. Practices report success with low vision, sports vision, designer frames, and premium spectacle lens, among others.
To guarantee practice success, effectively marketing these specialized services is essential. If you want someone to beat a path to your door, you have to tell him or her where the door is located.
Focus personnel on the specialty
The marketing of an optical that features specialty items begins with the physicians, the clinic, and the front-desk employees. The individual’s facial characteristics, prescription, and vocation and avocations are the primary factors used to determine who is a candidate for a niche specialty.
These issues might first come up during pre-testing. The technician should know enough about optical products to assure the patient that he or she has come to the right place. Even better? A brochure about the niche specialty allows the consumer to use wait-time and think-time.
If trending frames are your niche, then ensure that everyone that comes in contact with the patient is wearing one. “I want one just like Sally’s” is music to your eyewear consultant’s ears.
Ask your lead optician or vendor to hold training sessions for your entire staff, a real “show and tell,” explaining the optical’s niche specialty and how it benefits patients. Then, talk about the different patient prescriptions these devices help. You want your staff to be an extension of your in-office expert, knowledgeable about your optical’s niche specialty.