Why am I the best option for my patients’ eyewear purchase?
Selection? Value? Convenience? Quality? Price? Expertise?
What messages am I sending in my marketing and interactions with them that makes the case that I am their best option?
There are three critical moments during the patient’s decision-making process of where to have their exam, where to buy their glasses and whether they should do both in one place. If we create a separation between the two functions, we are encouraging them to do the same; leading to the patient walking out with a prescription, rather than a complete eyecare experience. You absolutely can change this by recognizing when each decision is made and concentrating your resources into holding their interest and trust at these moments.
1. First Impressions
Website: Do you make it clear from the very first view of your website that you are in the fashion business as well as the eye exam business? If every piece of information they see about you says, “The exam is important, but where you buy your glasses is not,” they are not likely to make the appointment at all. Does the patient need to search your website to see anything about your frame selection or the brands you carry? A clinical appearance to your website may speak to a quality eye exam, but a website that has fashion forward, colorful graphics will attract the attention of people looking for exceptional eyewear.
2. Transitioning from the Exam to the Eyewear Purchase
Super Tech or Doctor Hand Off: I love the concept of the Super-Tech whenever possible. The patient will open up about their eyewear needs at many times during the exam, so having one person that listens to their concerns throughout the visit prevents the frustration of having to recite their needs again and again and eliminates the need for any handoff.
If that is not practical for your office, the next best solution is excellent communication. The receptionist will ask about their current eyewear, the tech will take notes as they chat with the patient and hear their concerns, the doctor will pass along his recommendations as well. Talking about eyewear all the way through the visit demonstrates that you truly care that they receive a very high-quality final product from your office.
3. Optician’s Sales Expertise
The salesperson must be committed to providing excellent information and recommendations and must treat every patient with the same level of respect. Even if a vision care plan does not fully cover every recommended feature, the patient is entitled to the information about what is available to them.
The salesperson must never assume that a patient is not interested in getting multiple pairs of eyeglasses. Six, seven or even eight pairs of glasses are not out of the question. The salesperson will document everything about several pairs, giving the patient the option of ordering them in the future with a quick phone call, when they go back to the office and struggle with the computer after finding out there is a simple solution. If it is essential for a presbyope to have a regular pair of eyeglasses, a computer pair and prescription sunglasses, then if follows they need alternates for each of these. Not just for an emergency but for every day, to have different looks, different lens options and different frame types.
If you or your optical staff is not comfortable with selling, please read Dr. Vargo’s book “But I don’t Sell!” (https://amzn.to/2DpflW1). Persuading people to do what is in their own best interest is a function of being a healthcare provider.
If you are an IDOC Select or Advisor member, you have a trusted partner with the resources to help you navigate the challenges of independent optometry.