At this year’s American Optometric Association (AOA) meeting in New Orleans, VISTAKON®, Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., supported several initiatives to build relationships among the Eye Care Professional community. The company sponsored daily professional activities at its booth, the welcome gala, and the famous “Bad Habits” band [Eye Docs of Rock] for the new optometrist get-together party on Thursday night. Additionally, they hosted a complimentary breakfast seminar with prominent optometrists Mitch Cassel, O.D., Ann Hoscheit, O.D. and Howard Purcell, O.D., F.A.A.O.. The exciting seminar focused on marketing color contact lenses in the practice.
Last week I discussed tracking the number of patients who take their spectacle Rx out of the office to be filled elsewhere. This week, I’ll address what to say to them, and ways to keep them in your practice.
What to say
When a patient wants to go elsewhere for glasses, the worst thing a doctor or technician can do is to try to talk them out of it. Patients have a right (both legally and ethically) to take a copy of the their eyeglasses script. We all know this – but it’s worth restating.
As the Rx is being provided, I think it is advisable to for you or a technician to convey
a) that you value the patient’s business very highly and that you hope he will return after he shops around. This might seem corny, but patients want to know that your office cares about their business. Feeling appreciated will cause many to come back. b) that you’re interested in how you can improve your optical services, and in that context I’d ask why the patient is going elsewhere for glasses. This should be asked in a kind, non-defensive and non-condescending manner. Is it price? Is it selection? Does the patient know someone in the optical field?
How to keep 90% of your Rxs
The big advantage you have in earning the sale of optical products is that your office has just worked with the patient for over an hour. The entire eye exam experience must exemplify excellent “customer service”. (Forgive the term “customer”, but it’s the best word for what I mean).
Be aware that the patient will judge all aspects of technical care from the non-technical things that they understand – such as cleanliness, friendliness and punctuality.
Make sure you have a large enough selection of frames.
Make sure your optical looks cutting edge.
Provide a handout listing the reasons why your optical department is the best place to buy glasses. If you can’t come up with several good reasons, forget the handout and work on your policies and services. You must have a competitive advantage to succeed.
Next week, I’ll share my handout: “Six Reasons to Buy Your Glasses at Gailmard Eye Center”.
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week
Dr. Gailmard's new book, Practice Management in Optometry: A Blueprint for Success Based on the Optometric Management Tip of the Week, is now available on Amazon.