Increase Your Capture Rate
Ensure more patients purchase their eyewear from your optical.
DAVE ZIEGLER, O.D.
Since many practices’ exam fees are not enough to cover the costs of patient encounters, retaining patients’ eyewear purchases is crucial to practice profitability.
My practice’s capture ratio is 87%, which is similar to other practices I’ve studied (no comparable national metrics exist, as they only compare total exams and total glasses sold, which doesn’t reflect the patients who are truly interested in buying glasses).
Based on my studies and discussions with colleagues, I’ve found a capture ratio of more than 75% is desirable to ensure profitability. If your capture rate falls below this threshold, take the following steps to improve it.
Recommend during exams.
Too often, we hurry to get to the next patient rather than take the time to explain lens treatment options and how those products improve the patient’s vision. You need to make recommendations in the exam room.
For example, if you prescribe computer glasses for a patient who has never worn that type of prescription, it is vital that you explain how the design of computer glasses is different than regular progressive lenses. For example, I draw a simple sketch of the different lens designs then demonstrate the near vision with trial lenses vs. the patients’ current glasses.
This gives you total control to match your recommendations with the patient’s purchase. Also, it streamlines the patient’s buying experience by assuring the solution prescribed solves their problems while greatly increasing the likelihood that they will purchase from you.
Hand off to your staff.
Create the sense that the eye exam is not finished until the patient meets your optical staff by reviewing your recommendations during the hand off. This transfers your authority and patient trust to the optical staff.
For example, “Mary, this is Lyndsey. She will give you more information about the computer glasses I have recommended for you. Lyndsey, I have prescribed a pair of computer glasses for Mary that she will use at work and at home with her crafts. Can you give her help in selecting this? After you have completed that, she will need her all-purpose glasses updated into a digital progressive in her new prescription.”
Offer risk-free trials.
If patients leave your office without purchasing eyewear, it is often due to price — you can’t compete with $10 glasses they can find online. To differentiate your optical from the discount opticals and online stores, find unique ways to sell premium lenses and frames.
For example, we offer a 30-day trial for computer glasses and polarized sunglasses. At the end of the month, we call the patient and ask whether they like their glasses.
Once they’ve tried the product, price is no longer a primary concern. Nearly every patient keeps them, then we bill interest-free through the next three months.
Capture patients’ attention.
If your capture rate is suffering, you must increase the likelihood that your patients will purchase eyewear from you. Take corrective action to improve this important metric. OM
DR. ZIEGLER IS A SENIOR PARTNER IN A GROUP PRIVATE PRACTICE IN MILWAUKEE, WISC., AND A FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPTOMETRY. E-MAIL HIM AT DAVEAZIEGLER@GMAIL.COM, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.