In our practices we primarily focus on whether or not our patients can see, and how well. We’re in the optical business—why wouldn’t we focus on that? What’s the smallest line they can read on the Snellen chart? Is our frame selection appealing? Is the physical set up of the storefront inviting? These things are super important, but have you ever stopped to think about whether or not our patients can hear? I’m not suggesting we begin fitting patients for hearing aids, I’m asking you to be cognizant of what information your doctors, opticians, and staff are communicating within earshot of your patients.
Due to the size and setup of many offices, your frame boards aren’t the only thing on display to patients. If your doctors are discussing dry eye with one patient, another might be more likely to bring it up in the exam where it hadn’t previously crossed their mind. If your opticians or sales staff are heavily focused on price point (“I can give you 20% off”) when helping someone select a frame and lens that’s right for them, they’re communicating much more than their concern for someone’s wallet. They’re communicating an expectation for other patients to adopt. Conversely, if your staff focuses on patient education rather than economics, a different expectation is set.
Just the other day, I heard an optician discussing the benefits of blue-filtering technology in the midst of a styling. The very next person who sat down asked the staff, “What’s that stuff she was saying was good for the computer?” It’s easier to sell through education and facts than it is to begin with standard everything and trying to upsell based on price. Your team is on stage. Though the conversation may be directed at a single patient, the audience of staff, staff in training, and other patients are ever-present, and ever captivated.
As consumers, we are always listening. We want to know if we’re getting the same deal as someone else, or if we’re being scammed. In our practices, we need to be seen as trustworthy, honorable, educated, and having the patient’s best interests at heart. Through educational explanations, stories, and positive patient interactions, you create an opportunity for others to ask questions, and communicate needs they would have otherwise neglected. Of course, our primary focus should be their eyes, but let’s try to take care of their ears as well.
Evan Kestenbaum, MBA is the co-founder and COO of GPN Technologies, the landmark company that created EDGEPro. Evan’s entrepreneurial expertise and his focus on continuous improvement were vital in the development and success of EDGEPro, which has revolutionized analytics and business intelligence for ophthalmic professionals. Evan has also been deeply engaged in coaching and dispensary management for hundreds of practices during the past 10 years. He is the co-owner of Optix Family Eyecare in New York, one of Long Island’s largest Optometry practices. In his free time, Evan enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters. For questions or comments about this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.