Patients who are loyal will always return to your office for their regular exams instead of going elsewhere. Loyal patients will refer their friends and co-workers in need of eye care to your office. Loyal patients are key to a successful optometry practice.
Loyalty cannot be purchased, it must be earned by connecting with patients beyond the exam room interaction and going above and beyond their expectations.
Here are 3 ways to build loyalty in an optometry practice.
- Call patients – Calling patients on the phone is difficult for me. I would rather craft an email or send a short text, but neither of those methods are good for communicating personal and sensitive health information. Remember, you are talking about one of a person’s most cherished senses–vision. Even though making a telephone call seems antiquated and awkward, it is important. With a phone call, you can be sure the information is getting to your patient and not someone else, and you are on the line and available for questions or clarifications. Doctors who take a couple of minutes to call their patients with test results or important information will find their efforts will reap huge benefits in the practice, not only financially, but relationally. Relational connections lead to referrals and more loyal patients.
- Refund an unhappy patient – Yes, give it away. If you see a patient who has had her new pair of glasses for four months and she is disappointed with the new prescription, give her a refund. You will take it on the chin, but that’s better than leaving an unsatisfactory situation to fester. Repeat offenders are a different story, so learn to distinguish the two.
- Give services and products away – I will never forget the friend who was present in my life when I was at my lowest. Many of our patients come to our office at their lowest times. As a doctor, when you discern patients’ extenuating circumstances, you may decide forgo the charge for the exam or the treatment. This transforms to growth, loyalty, and security of a long lasting healthy practice. Many of the most profitable practices give and give big.
Being successful is not always about who ends up with the biggest practice or most money. The funny thing is, when you don’t focus on becoming a bigger practice or making more money, and instead focus on having the heart of a giver, the bigger practice and more money tends to follow. If you feel like you can never quite get over the proverbial hump, maybe it is time to start giving things away.