We are all in the business of striving to help each patient recreate perfect vision and we always hope every patient leaves satisfied. While we know that won't always be the case, there are some key drivers that will help to achieve those lofty goals!
Every patient is different and even in patients with similar Rx's the end result for their lenses can have a wide amount of variance. This is all based upon their individual needs.
From older traditional progressives like the tried and true Varilux Comfort to newer top of the line digital progressives like the Shamir Autograph Intelligence, and even with simple single vision lenses or new technology like Eyezen single vision lenses, every patient has a wide variety of options available to them.
Here are 4 easy ways you can increase patient satisfaction at your optical dispensary:
1) Make sure you and your staff stay up-to-date
In this day and age, lens technology seems to change almost as fast as the new cell phones released each year. At IcareLabs we try to offer the widest variety of lenses/services at the best prices, but we also understand that not every practice wants (or needs) to offer all of these options to their patients.
That's a good thing, but that doesn't mean you should turn any patients away that come in saying "they've done their research and want to get into the XYZ lens". If you have the ability to, go ahead and put them in exactly what they want instead of trying to steer them towards something they're not asking for! This is one of the easiest ways to have satisfied patients. Even if they are not blown away by "their" choice in lens design, it was exactly what they asked for.
Know what your lab/labs have to offer, listen to your patient's needs with some lifestyle or get to know them questions. Base your recommendations on what your patient's needs are and your sales and patient satisfaction will go up. When new products become available, reach out and get more information so you don't fall behind the curve. Utilize your customer service rep, brand rep, or even Google to find more information on available products. Do your homework and build confidence in the products you are dispensing.
2) Always offer the "complete optical experience"
What is the complete optical experience you may ask? Simple, being able to offer patients quality lenses regardless of budgetary concerns. One thing we hear way too often is "we only sell the best of the best" or "our patients only want value progressives/lenses".
We absolutely understand that you know your patients best! Going right back to my first point, turning away any patient because they don't fit the "mold" of what your offering is not just bad business, but also directly leads to an unsatisfied patient! Not only that, but you're literally throwing money out the door.
Many practices offer package deals such as the Good, Better, Best type of pricing structure which works very well in most instances. Taking advantage of house brand lenses is also another way to ensure your practice has an option for everyone.
Package pricing is another key in keeping your average dollar per sale where you want it. You are less likely to have push back on add-ons when you quote one price. There is a reason that auto dealers offer different model levels on the same vehicle. This enables them to package add-ons. This not only makes them more money, but ensures the customer is more satisfied with their purchase.
Purchasers can occasionally be cheap, sometimes cheap to the point of foolish. When you package price your add-ons you take away the temptation for your customers to knock something off of the sale. Often they will decline non-glare to save $100 only to receive a pair of glasses a few days later that they are not satisfied with because un-coated lenses did not fit their actual needs.
3) Manage patient expectations!
Your patients come to see you for your expertise and knowledge so this means you will sometimes have to have hard conversations with them. While my 2 previous points emphasize getting patients into what they want or need, we all know there are several instances where an Rx will just not work with certain frames.
Having a frank and succinct conversation on what will and won't work with their prescription can often nip that in the bud. If a patient does insist, then you have some cushion to fall back on should the patient not be happy with the end result. Also making sure to go over your optical's policies and procedures beforehand can help to avoid any confusion on the patient's part afterwards.
Explain the products in easy to understand language. At times we feel that the bigger the words the more professional we sound. While this might be true in some cases, it is more important for the consumer to understand the products. When a consumer does not fully understand the benefits of an add-on he/she will decline it. Use simple terminology that paints a picture of what you are selling, such as "no-glare" in place of AR or anti-reflective coating. No-glare explains exactly what the product does and paints a picture of what the customer will experience while using the product.
Always focus on the benefits of the product you are selling but be honest and open of the shortcomings. Transitions 7 is a fantastic product. It offers perfect sight in every light. It'll protect your patient's eyes in those moments where sun wear is not available. It offers 20% harmful blue light protection indoors, up to 87% outdoors and 100% UV protection. Plenty of good to talk about, but do not forget to mention that it is not a replacement for a good pair of polarized sunglasses and it does not darken inside a car.
Make sure you have demos of the products you are selling. These can range from the new lorgnettes soon to be released by Transitions Optical for the new Transitions Gen 8 to the Kodak Lens Corner. These help patients see and feel exactly why you're recommending these products.
4) Make every patient feel appreciated
This may be a simple concept that almost goes without saying, but it's one we practice with each and every one of our customers. Going out of your way to let each patient know how much you appreciate their business goes a long way. Offering loyalty rewards for longtime or returning customers is another way of showing them you appreciate their business.
Sending out a thank you email or mailer will show them you're still available should they need you and they're not just another sale. You can even include patient satisfaction surveys to help gauge your patient satisfaction level. These tools can be invaluable when doing staff training in the future.
Patients have a lot of choices when it comes to purchasing their glasses these days. Taking a little extra time out of your day to show them you care can reassure them that they've not only made the right choice, but they will also remember you for their next exam or pair of glasses.
Patient satisfaction for your optical dispensary should be the absolute #1 goal for everyone on your staff! This will directly lead to increasing your optical revenue in two key ways. With return and referral business. Word-of-mouth advertising is the best that money can't buy and only happens when patients leave satisfied.
Here at IcareLabs, we are committed to making sure every optical out there has the best information available to them whether you do business with us or not. At the end of the day, the more patients that are happy with their new pair of glasses out there then the better our industry is as a whole.
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