I have designed and used lens packages in my practice several times over the years, but I’ve never been completely happy with them until now. In some cases, I felt we were giving a discounted price for lens features that the patients would have happily bought at full price. In other cases, my optical staff would review all the lens features that are included in the package, only to have the patient say he wanted it, but would like to remove one item. Well, then it is not a package! We would end up going al a carte. Finally, I found that our packages revolved around presenting good, better, best options and I don’t really like that approach. I like my staff to just present the best products.
For my practice, I’m happy to say that we have found a great solution by offering only one lens package, which includes the best of everything.
Just one package
This concept really makes the design of eyewear very easy and a high percentage of patients just say yes and go with the lens package.
We tell patients that our doctors have carefully selected the most important lens features and the very best brands available and we designed our premium lens package. We guarantee this package to be the lightest, thinnest, safest, best-looking and best-performing lenses available. We list the brand names of all the products in our package and they are well-respected and often nationally advertised. Our patients really trust our doctors and opticians and they know they are not in a good position to make all the choices themselves.
My optical staff goes on to explain that while the prices for the premium lens products in our package are higher, we are able to discount the package significantly saving the patient $65. We even offer the package to vision plan patients and offer them a small savings over the usual approved co-pays for all the features. I analyzed the profitability of this package program and we are definitely dispensing enough premium products that we are generating more profit even after the discount.
Some of the lens features included in our package are:
Digital free-form design
Premium progressive lenses if an add is prescribed
Premium antireflective with hard coat
High index plastic
Aspheric lens surface
Scratch resistant finish
We only have one lens package, but we have pricing alternatives without Transitions and in single vision or progressive.
While I love dispensing premium lens products, I also love saving time for me and my staff. The single lens package does that because the patient does not need to make many decisions. Most patients just choose a frame and then go with the lens package and we are done.
For vision plans, we quote the total of all the co-pays instead of each co-pay. The package also prevents the sticker shock of so many add-ons. There is a psychological advantage to just giving one price instead of six or eight items all added together.
I find that making things simple for patients is a big advantage and patients love it.
I know that paying an individual bonus to an employee for selling a specific item is not very popular, but I’m not sure why. It is actually quite effective and extremely simple to pay an optician a small bonus for selling a specific item, like the lens package. The reward has a high correlation with the desired behavior instead of being filtered by what all the co-workers do or don’t do. We don’t have the disappointment if we come close to a goal but don’t quite make it. I track the sales of special items and I see a big jump in sales when we attach a spiff. Bonus systems work best when there is a high degree of correlation.
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week