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READER AND INDUSTRY FORUM

FOCUS ON QUALITY AND VALUE TO BOOST IN-OFFICE LENS SALES

Do you spend time trying to convince patients to buy their contact lenses in your office? That might seem like a great idea, but it may just be the wrong approach. Online retailers attract patients by talking price—not value. In the absence of knowing the value of the office-patient relationship, patients resort to price as a default metric of value. But online retailers cannot compete if practitioners work toward helping to educate patients and to create value in the office-patient relationship.

Educate to Your Advantage

Education is key, and high-quality education is the beginning. It does not matter whether a practitioner has a medical, commercial, or private practice; to transform their behavior, practitioners have to consume what they want to become. Providing patients with value in their engagement begins with acquiring knowledge. Practitioners need to make the commitment to get both patients and staff educated by obtaining high-quality education on the products and services that they provide.

Small Time Commitment If practitioners spend as little as 30 minutes a day learning about practice metrics, myopia control, scleral lenses, or vision care research, they will start to set themselves apart. Knowledge adds up over time and quickly helps them develop the type of practice that they want to have.

Improve Today We often pay more attention to and put more value on what we think rather than what patients, consultants, and outsiders tell us. Practitioners learn more if they have an open mind, so listen and think about what people tell you. Listening to patients when they complain is the best way to know what needs to improve immediately. Talk to the sales representatives; practitioners often discover that advice from their sales reps can be the best thing that happens to them and their office.

Emphasize Quality

The fastest way to stand out is to provide patients with high-quality products and quality education centered on product or service value. As I mentioned earlier, in the absence of distinguishing characteristics, people resort to price as a default metric of value; this especially happens online.

Quality is everything when it comes to growing a business. Invest in an ongoing process to acquire and deliver quality products and services, and communicate and educate about value. Use scripted messages that allow everyone on the practice team to uniformly talk and educate. Providing and communicating value to patients is the best insulator against competition and is an important cornerstone in business success.

Start by looking at every step that patients take in your office. Ask yourself “what value does this step have for my patients? Am I communicating and presenting the value of the service or product properly? Can I think of a good reason as to why this procedure, service, or product provides value? Am I correctly communicating with patients?” Once you have answered these questions, create a script in an easy-to-understand, simple language and plan on delivering the idea of value to your patients for every single interaction that they have in your office.

When practitioners spend time with their patients, they should ask how the quality of the patient experience can be improved. Be humble; talk with patients and think in terms of better helping to educate and create value in the patient-office relationship. Implementing simple strategies can help in-office contact lens sales in the competitive optical space. CLS