Optometry is unique in that it is one of the few medical specialties that offers a fashion statement (frames) in addition to a medical examination. Since there is a physical product to sell, how can you maximize your product and service mix, to keep customers coming back and your practice profitable?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything time consuming, like create a survey, unless you really want to make one. It is just a matter of trying these things:
These programs can be a wealth demographic information. Are the majority of your patients male or female? Do they range in age from 21 to 35 or does it skew in the 55 and up range? This isn’t just nice to know information. This can help you put together a product mix that reflects the desires of your patient population. On average, younger patients may want trendy frames, while older patients may want styles that emphasize comfort and function. Use your point of sale system to help gather this valuable intelligence.
Speaking of frames, Jay Binkowitz, president of GPN, an optometric consulting company, states that each slot in the frame board should be seen as an apartment. If the occupant isn’t paying, out it goes. He goes on to say that inventory should be on a “one-in, one-out” basis for each category. To make sure that happens, choose vendors who are willing to exchange stale inventory. In addition, limit the number of frame vendors that you deal with, so that you don’t end up with too much product to sell.
This just in: People can buy their frames anywhere. Okay, you already knew that fact! Since people can buy anywhere, they need a reason to buy from you. What’s the one thing you can do for customers that will make them come back? Provide the best customer service. Make sure that the optical staff goes above and beyond to help customers with every step of the process: from picking out the right frames to insurance information. Also, bring up customer service issues at staff meetings and brainstorm on ways to improve service. It can be as simple as collecting pens around the office to having patients fill out forms on tablet computers. Whatever it takes to make coming to your practice a pleasant experience, you and your staff should be doing it.
You can also utilize social media. Highlight the latest frame styles and staff members who can be of assistance. You can post ratings/reviews, articles about eye health, as well as eye health videos. Social media isn’t just something high school or college kids use. It is an important tool you can use to reach out to patients and differentiate your practice.
Yes, it seems like a lot of work. Yet, by investing in your practice, you can set it apart and have patients returning and making recommendations to friends and family, which leads to more patients and greater profits.