It’s safe to say that patients are the most important thing to any optometry business and eye care professionals. Patients are at the centre of everything in the optical industry; they are who require eye care professionals to treat them, monitor them and speak to about any concerns they have as well as, of course, being the ones who make purchases. Those who work in eye care strive to and will inevitably be, trusted by the patient and while the testing and clinical side of optometry is vital, it is not the only side of an optometry business.
Retail because of an eye exam or check-up accounts for roughly 70% of revenue (getweave.com). And, while patients book an eye exam for several reasons, we may often need to look for ways to ensure we can convert them into customers who will be interested in taking a closer look at frames or lenses.
What we must remember is that the actions that we make as soon as a patient steps through the door begin to persuade them whether they are going to become a customer or not. From a warm welcome to talking a patient through their appointment, there are many touch points that matter. You may have seen examples of excellent customer service in the past and you’ve probably discovered why tailoring your service to each customer’s needs is so important to your success. A study from CooperVision found that 30% of people chose opticians for service-related reasons and that ease of booking an appointment, buying and after sales care was highly valued. Giving a customer the feeling of involvement and knowing your business can also help even before they set foot in the door, this has been shown through the success of social media campaigns from the likes of Specsavers who have built up amazing brand loyalty through their consistent marketing efforts, which for them, is where their customer service begins.
There are many ins and outs of customer service, but we’ve explored 5 ways that could help you transition your patients into customers in no time.
Being aware of where the action with your customers is, is key. So, where is it? It’s on social media before the patient even makes an appointment, it’s on your website in how you speak to them and it’s in their experience in your store. Showing an interest in the patient’s experience and stepping in at important touch points will ensure that the trust is being built way before they even begin to look at purchasing after their eye exam.
Engaging with patients whether it be on social media or re-engaging after appointments is all important. Engagement builds trust and confidence between patients and their providers and ensures that you remain front of mind at any given time. Your tone and messaging are also effective so make sure that you know exactly how you want to appear to your customer.
If your patients are comfortable with how you have been engaging with them so far in their journey, it could make them more likely to transition from patient to customer when they visit and be more open to furthering the relationship with you.
From front-facing staff to those who treat patients behind the scenes, you should aspire to have the same level of customer service provided by all. All your employees should be giving patients the same level of customer service. This comes down to their training and your commitment to your staff along with what you expect from them.
A customer will always expect the same level of customer service no matter who they speak to you in your business, therefore you need to recognise this and take all the steps required to ensure this is the case. This could make or break your customers’ experience.
As much as customer service is not all about cost, it is an important factor and one that should be recognised. Every individual has different circumstances and while there will be many who do not worry about cost, there will be a portion of your customer base that this might affect. If a patient has completed their eye exam and is worried about their budget, they may need some extra reassurance that there are options available to them. Demonstrate that you care about their needs and affordability as this will go a long way to making them feel comfortable and at ease. Taking that extra pressure off of them could encourage their trust and willingness to remain a customer.
Right from making an appointment to choosing their frames, a seamless and enjoyable patient experience will be heard about and remembered. Word of mouth is powerful, and a great experience is one thing that customers like to rave about. How can we make the journey easy on them? You can plan out the journey so it’s as smooth as possible and does not feel like an effort for the customer to go through. If you minimise wait times, reduce paperwork and keep things as efficient as possible, any patient is sure to not mind spending a bit more time speaking with your retail staff.
Given that these are only a few of the things you can implement to turn your patients into customers, we would advise doing some of your own research into your target customer. However, you will definitely not go wrong with the advice discussed throughout this blog. Looking at these specific ways to engage with your patients will not only benefit your organisation but will give them an experience they’re sure not to forget in a hurry.
Read more blogs from IbisVision, here.