Don't Underestimate Your Patients
BY CARLA J. MACK, OD, FAAO, EDITOR
Recently, I read that consumer willingness to pay is often underestimated. For example, if you give consumers the choice between two products that have the same content, same ingredients, similar packaging and different prices, many will choose the product that is priced higher. Yes, I said higher.
To me, this means two things. The first is choice. Consumers have the right to choose which product they want and how much they're willing to pay for it. The second is value or perceived value. Some choose the higher-priced item because they believe it must be better in some way if it's priced higher.
Consider this concept as eyecare providers and contact lens practitioners. Do we underestimate our patients' willingness to pay? Do we offer our patients the best treatment option and let them choose? Do we let our patients decide if that option is valuable? Do we let them decide if they are willing to pay?
Some successful practitioners and I have discussed recent industry news about a new partnership that has the potential to offer much cost savings and convenience to consumers when ordering lenses. This news has some of you worried that your patients will leave your practice. Some will leave. Probably far fewer than you think. Some will leave and then return to you because the savings weren't enough to overshadow your great care. What I urge you to understand — if you don't already know — is why patients come to you for care and, more importantly why they return to you for care. What does your practice offer that is valuable, unique and difficult to emulate in just any practice setting?
Don't fall into the trap of underestimating your patients, including why they choose to come to your practice, choose to pay for your products and services, and even choose to follow your recommended treatment plans. Better yet, provide distinctive value that will keep your patients returning to you for years to come.