Creating a Contact Lens Policy
Creating a Contact Lens Policy
Avoid patient confusion with a policy that your staff can easily understand.
Rebecca L. Johnson, CPOT, COT, COE
Like me, I’m sure you become frustrated when you are doing business with a company and an employee gives wrong or conflicting answers or can’t answer a simple question without asking someone.
Would I be frustrated for the same reasons if I were a contact lens patient at your practice? Before you answer, ask each of your employees how they would handle this situation:
A patient who has been coming to the practice for several years brings in her teenage daughter to be fit with contact lenses. Two weeks after receiving the year supply of contact lenses, the mother brings back the lenses, saying that her daughter decided that she likes wearing her glasses better. She is requesting a full refund of the contact lenses and fitting fee.
Are you surprised by your staff’s answers? You wouldn’t be if you had a contact lens policy with clear rules.
An internal policy provides a guideline to refer to so there are no ambiguities. Here are some details you should include in your policy:
► Fitting fees. List all products and services that are included in the fitting fee price, including the number of days that follow-up care will be at no charge. Document when the payment for the fitting fee and initial contact lenses is due, along with how long you will hold lenses for patient pick up before returning them.
► Contact lens prescription expiration date. Discuss the expiration date on contact lens prescriptions, and establish specific instances in which this date can be stretched.
A clear internal contact lens policy empowers your staff…
► Discounts. Clearly define your discount policy for employees, family members and friends of the doctor. List all patient discounts along with the discount eligibility. If you meet competitor pricing, is there a cap on how far you will go?
► Returns. Document the timeline in which returns can be accepted along with specifics, such as your policy on boxes that have been open. If you have a restocking fee, are there instances in which the fee would not apply?
► Frequently asked questions. Have your staff list the most commonly asked questions regarding contact lens policies along with the answers. This will ensure consistency in communication. In addition, if you make the lists quickly available on an internally shared electronic document all staff members will be able to address patient questions without putting the patient on hold for the contact lens technician. An example: How is a patient charged who is scheduled for a contact lens progress check but presents with a red, itchy eye unrelated to contact lens wear?
Knowing the policy
Involving the staff in creating the policy will promote acceptance along with assuring that the policy is understood. Word it so that staff members can easily quote the policy without having to refer to the written documentation.
The importance of clarity
Read a few online optometry practice reviews, and you will immediately understand the importance of clear and consistent information regarding contact lens policies. Consumers share the same frustrations as me, and they are not shy about letting the world know it.
A clear internal contact lens policy with strategic guidelines empowers your staff, making them more confident when answering patient questions, thus avoiding negative patient perception. OM
REBECCA JOHNSON IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF EYETRAIN4YOU, AN OPHTHALMIC STAFF COACHING AND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY. E-MAIL HER AT REBECCA@EYETRAIN4YOU.COM, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.
Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: January 2013, page(s): 30