Vision Care & Wear
Increase profits by focusing on these three fundamentals.
DAVE ZIEGLER, O.D.
Set the right goals for your optical dispensary, and they will work together to increase your profitability. Here are three measures to consider in your practice next year.
1 Optical capture ratio
While many doctors look to find ways to get new patients into the office, it is even more important to retain the purchases of your current patients. The reason: For many offices, the exam fees are not enough to cover the chair cost, which makes the purchase of materials crucial to profitability.
To track your optical capture ratio, keep track of the next 100 patients who have had a prescription change and are, thus, in the market for new glasses. After two weeks, calculate how many patients purchased eyewear from your office.
For the patients who didn't purchase them from your office, call them and say, “When you had your eye exam a couple weeks ago, the doctor wrote a new prescription for you. We're calling to see how your new glasses are working.”
If they tell you they decided against updating their glasses, take them off your list of 100 patients. You are only interested in those who tell you they purchased their glasses elsewhere. If your capture ratio is less than 75%, take steps to improve it. (See “The Optical Sales Process” in November OM.)
2 Revenue per patient
The median gross revenue per exam for all MBA practices is $306, according to MBA data. However, some eyecare practices more than double that number.
You can increase your revenue per patient in 2014 by:
▸ Bundling lenses into packages. When lenses are presented this way, patients tend to be more receptive to buying lenses with more features than they would when lens features are purchased separately.
This simplifies and streamlines the buying process for patients, who prefer bundled items, such as all-inclusive vacations.
▸ Adding high-priced frames to your product mix. This makes your other frames more attractive, as they're viewed as more affordable. Double the price of your most expensive frame, and add a collection at that price point to your optical dispensary.
▸ Making specific lens recommendations. This should start in the exam room. For example, explain the benefits of digital progressive lenses and AR coatings to patients while reviewing your exam findings.
3 Second pair sales
The first pair of glasses sold covers your chair cost and provides your profit. The sale of any other glasses, such as computer glasses and polarized sunglasses, is incremental profit, even if discounted.
Offer incentives, such as 50% off second pairs, as even a small profit margin is better for your bottom line than income you weren't expecting anyway.
Track your second pair sales each month, and consider adding incentives, such as bonuses, to the optical staff members who excel at selling second pairs.
New year — new optical.
If you can focus on setting goals in these three areas and meet your goals in 2014, you will see a dramatic improvement in your optical profitability. 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.
Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: December 2013, page(s): 51