As an eye care professional, the phrase, “you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression” is especially appropriate as many patients are seen just once per year. Making that unique and lasting impression is vital to ensuring your patients will return year after year.
The Patient’s Perspective
Consider the demographics of your patient base and what they expect from a provider in their community (this is also good information to review when comparing your practice to competitors). A few items for consideration:
- Ease of making an appointment (many prefer 24/7 online scheduling)
- Answering patient questions, including FAQs available on website for 24/7 consumption
- Ability to text or email the office
- Convenient hours of operation
- Good brand representation and POP in-store and on website
Deliver On Service
According to a recent Customer Experience Trends in Healthcare report, patients rate quality of customer service as the top reason for influencing their loyalty to a provider. Keep in mind that service extends beyond the exam and through eyewear pickup that can occur nearly a month after they began their pre-appointment Google search.
When a patient sees the good you do for their community, it shows them that you care. Your community stewardship may increase the chances of patients visiting your office more often than their annual eye exam. A few ways you can contribute to good causes within your community:
- Donate Usable Glasses To A Cause
Accepting donations of used glasses is a perfect middle-man opportunity for an eye care practice. Your patients have their own, or their family members’, glasses with outdated prescriptions, out-of-fashion frames, or simply no longer used. A significant number of people can greatly benefit from seeing out of those same glasses. Check and see who accepts usable glasses in your community — you can start with the local Lions Club or non-profit organization.
- Collect Used Contact Lenses & Packaging
With most contact lens patients wearing daily lenses, a great deal of waste can be produced between the lenses themselves, the blister pack, and foil lid. Your patients may not be aware that these are too small for regular municipal recycling and that they can drop them off at your office — you’ll be surprised at how quickly your donation bin fills up! The Terracycle ONE by ONE Recycling Program is a free service that practices can participate in to offer this valuable recycling service to your patients.
Supporting local organizations or industry associations is a great way to get your clinic’s name in front of local community members, build loyalty for your brand and support the community you practice within.
Leave Food For Thought
A simple suggestive goodbye is an easy way to tell your patients they are welcome at your office anytime. Here are a few ideas that will help you or your staff close out a visit:
- “Bring in your lens cleaner bottle when it’s low — we offer complimentary refills.”
- “Congratulations on the new job! Let us know if you’d like us to check your new vision benefits.”
- “Don’t forget your eyewear benefit renews on July 1st!”
- “Thank you for purchasing your glasses from us — if you have other glasses older than your backup pair, you can donate them here.”
- “We refresh our styles seasonally; stop in anytime to browse the latest eyewear!”
- “Stop in anytime your glasses need an adjustment or before going on a long trip.”
- Let them know about your practice’s multi-pair discount if they return within XX number of days.
Instilling a positive impression can lead to higher patient satisfaction and retention, generate referrals, and leave patients more inclined to leave a positive online review.
Join Our Community
Shelby Wade, PECAA Marketing Advisor, provides marketing support to help your practice generate buzz within your community, things to consider on your website, developing your brand, and more! As a PECAA Max member, you can receive expert marketing advice at no additional cost! Already a member? Book a meeting with Shelby here to get started. Not a PECAA Member? Contact us to learn how PECAA can help your practice thrive.