Weapons of Mass Disruption


Weapons of Mass Disruption

The practice costs of using the wrong words.


Review your patient scripts and ask yourself, “Did the patient request clarification?” and “Did the script highlight benefits relative to the patient?”

If the answer is “yes” to the first and “no” to the second question for any of your scripts, you must change them to avoid substantial costs in practice time and money. Not convinced?

Repeat offenders

Let’s say your practice sees an average of five patients per day with ocular dryness complaints. After you provide your ocular surface disease educational script, every patient asks for clarification. If it takes roughly 60 seconds to elucidate, that’s five minutes a day, which adds up to 25 minutes a week and 1,300 minutes a year. So, you’re spending almost 22 hours a year on clarification.

Let’s say you’ve been practicing for 10 years using this script. This means you’ve spent 220 practice hours, or a little more than nine days, providing clarification. You could have used that time to schedule patients, learn a new specialty or work with staff.

Too long and confusing

Give or take, it costs a business roughly $2 for every minute personnel is on the clock. Imagine your optician taking 20 minutes to discuss with a patient the latest high-definition lens using “wider corridor” and “less distortion.” The average person recalls roughly 6% to 8% of what a sales person says. A 20-minute discussion is far too long, especially when industry terms are used.

A confused patient doesn’t make purchases.

Best-case scenario: The consumer will ask the optician several follow-up questions, and she’ll become so confused by the additional information that she’ll glaze over, shut down and tell you, “Let me think about all this,” as she approaches the door. Worst-case scenario: The patient doesn’t return. Essentially, you just paid $40 for an unlikely sale.

Foiled by frame color

Here’s another circumstance: A consumer expresses interest in a frame and asks, “Does it come in other colors?” Rather than the optician answering, “Yes, it does, but before I show you, I have some other frames that might interest you,” she replies, “Sure,” thumbs through the catalog, and orders the frame at the patient’s request.

The patient returns, interrupting office flow, tries the frame on and says, “The color looked different in the catalog. Can you show me something else?” Now, the optician must place the discarded frame in inventory and have overstock or send it back for credit — she’ll pay for the shipping both ways. In addition, if the optician doesn’t get her credit, she’ll have to wait on the phone for someone to say, “It’s on its way” — more wasted time. Remember, the consumer bought a frame that was in stock from the beginning.

Choosing wisely

Words add or take away revenue. When you use efficient dialog in the exam room and in the optical (illustrating advantages to the consumer, such as value, comparative value, image, style and comfort), you can easily shave off wasted minutes, while getting the consumer to either “buy-in” to your care and/or make a purchase.

Start a weekly meeting, at which all team members write their scripts and trade them with each other with the challenge, “shorten the dialog, and focus on the advantages to make the patient want to say, ‘Yes!’” OM