the dotcom bomb left a lot of our stock portfolios decimated, the Internet is alive
and well. The companies left behind in the technology rubble (Amazon, ebay, etc.)
have had notable increases in business. Indeed, this past holiday season saw almost
a 30% increase in online shopping. All this tells us that your patients use the
How then can we capitalize on this
The big secret to building an effective
Web site is to realize that it can be so much more than an electronic brochure.
Log on to most O.D. Web sites and you'll see information about office hours, insurance
plans, pictures of their "friendly and courteous staff," etc. While not necessarily
negatives, providing patients with a site that only contains this cursory information
is selling the capabilities of modern Web sites short.
Do what the airlines do
Having flown more than 100,000 miles
in 2004, I'm acutely aware of how the airline industry has changed because of their
Before the Internet, I called a sales
agent who would use a computer to tell me about available flights. I would hurriedly
scribble down my choices and then decide which flight I wanted.
Now, because of Web sites, I choose
my own flights at my convenience. I also choose my seat, can order a special meal
and print my own boarding pass. So, not only has the airline reduced its labor costs
dramatically, it has me using my own paper and toner to print my boarding pass
they have, in effect, taken their e-ticket machines into my office.
We counsel clients to think of Web
sites as another employee one that is available 24/7/365, always tells patients
what you want and never calls in sick.
Now, for your practice
There are many airline equivalents
for our practices. We can enable our Web sites with various "plug-ins" and have
each one act as an employee.
For example, www.4patientcare.com
offers real-time Web scheduling that interfaces with your desktop appointment scheduler.
Like passengers choosing their seats on the plane, your patients can schedule an appointment.
The process of buying a plane ticket
is mimicked when you let patients buy contact lenses from your web site. www.patientwire.com
has a unique way to do this that involves no staff involvement.
Just as passengers can fill out their
preferences for future flights, we can have patients use www.eyecarepro.net to complete
their history information before entering our offices. This data is then automatically
sent to your office desktop computer, avoiding the tasks of printing and double
Paying for your flight online involves
reduced labor costs for the airlines. Similarly, using a service like www.eyecarepro.net,
patients will soon be able to verify their insurance benefits themselves before
coming to your office. Talk about making your staff happy!
Another great feature of this site
is that other services above like web scheduling, contact lens ordering and patient
satisfaction surveys can also be plugged into your site and this can all
happen with virtually no Web site-building knowledge!
Reach beyond the basics
Sure, a Web site should have a map
to your office and talk about what's new in contact lenses. But with today's technology,
you can actually put the Web's power to work for you in ways we only dreamed of
a few years ago. Embrace this technology now. Your patients expect it and your staff
will thank you for reducing the burden of repetitive tasks.
IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE POWER PRACTICE, A COMPANY
SPECIALIZING IN MAKING OPTOMETRISTS MORE PROFITABLE. LEARN MORE AT WWW.POWERPRACTICE.COM
OR CALL DR. GERBER AT (800) 867-9303.