Last month we discussed streamlining the cosmetic contact lens selection process. This month we want to present more specific strategies to create an efficient and fun lens “try on” experience.
For most of us, our goal in practice is to solve our patients’ problems and in the process create life-changing experiences for them. It may not seem that contacts, specifically colors, can help us achieve that goal until you have a few experiences that demonstrate this. Those experiences are impossible if we don’t start the conversation with our patients regarding this option.
Market research suggests that 19 million U.S. consumers may be “extremely interested” in color contact lenses.1 However, they may not ever mention cosmetic lenses to anyone in the office unless given “permission”. The way to give your patient “permission” to talk about colors and try them on is to ask the patient about the option. Make an effort to bring it up first. The way you ask is important as well. The tone of voice and words you use must imply that you are not only all right with your patients choosing colors but you also expect that they will. Another way you give your “permission” is to talk about the features and benefits of new color contact lens options.
My conversation goes something like this:
“Mr. Jones it is great to see you again. Your lenses look great. In addition to the clear contact lenses you have been wearing, we now have color lenses that enhance and/or transform your eye color. They are extremely comfortable and made out of a material that is very healthy as well. What color would you like to try today?”
To create the best experience with color contact lenses it is important to set the stage. If you set the expectation that the lenses are healthy, comfortable and beautiful, you will then be able to give your patients “permission” to try them. Almost 90% of those who try color buy color.1
It is important to remember that our patients pay us to give them the best prescription for eye health, vision and comfort. They will follow our advice if it is given in a confident, respectful and knowledgeable manner. What we tend to forget, or in some cases not even be aware of, is that if we give patients a recommendation with our words but our tone of voice sends a different message; they will be confused at best and unwilling to be compliant at worst. Smile when you talk to set the tone and look at the patient when speaking to them so they know we take this seriously. By following these rules of communication not only will you find it helpful in creating that color contact lens experience we are striving for, but also in establishing rapport and compliance with your patients. Carry this same formula forward with your glaucoma patients (and other medical patients) and you will be amazed at how it can change your outcomes here as well.
1. Based on a survey of 375 U.S. consumers interested in or wearing color contact lenses; Alcon data on file, 2013.
April Jasper, OD, FAAO has a private practice in West Palm Beach, Florida. She serves on several Advisory boards including VSP, Vision Source, Allergan and Alcon. Dr. Jasper is Benedict Professor in practice management at Houston College of Optometry. Her passion is sharing with her colleagues in areas of practice management and technology in an effort to help them become more successful in patient care and personal growth.