Fact: “Your Contact Lens Patients Are Your Practice VIPs”
If you are measuring the profitability of your contact lens practice by the profit per box, you’re only seeing a sliver of the picture. There are important reasons to retain your contact lens patients and encourage them to buy their contact lenses from your practice. These go beyond per-box profits—which can also be increased—and extend to patient satisfaction, more predictable annual exams and an overall improved relationship with patients.
There’s not one single step that can improve your profitability and revenue, but a focus on offering all candidates a chance to try contact lenses, recommending newer materials and designs, and an emphasis on annual supplies, can combine to counter the old adage that there’s no money in contact lenses.
According to Jobson Optical Research’s 2014 Contact Lens Wearers Insight Survey, fewer than half of the contact lens wearers surveyed reported buying at least a six-month supply of contact lenses at a time.
Selling patients less—or more—than an annual supply of contact lenses has its perils for your business growth and, potentially, for the patient’s ocular health. Patients who leave with less than an annual supply of contact lenses may be more inclined to stretch their contact lens wearing time, turn to other sources and delay their return to your practice for the annual exam. Patients who purchase more than an annual supply are almost certain to wait until their contact lenses run out before returning for another exam.
Are You Asking the Right Questions?
How often are patients in your practice being exposed to the contact lens option? If they’re asked only on an intake form, or when they’re making the appointment, then they’re not being provided with much of an opportunity to explore. And if you’re not asking the probing questions to uncover frustrations, you might find yourself with a contact lens dropout rather than a satisfied contact lens wearer.
Here are questions that can be asked at different points during the patient’s interaction:
SPARK INTEREST. “Are you interested in eyeglasses, contact lenses or both?”
LEARN HISTORY. “Have you ever worn contact lenses? When was that?”
SHOW NEED. “Is there ever a time you’d like to be able to see without wearing your eyeglasses?”
EDUCATE ON COSMETIC USES. “Do you have any interest in contact lenses that change or enhance your eye color?”
FACILITATE THE PURCHASE. “Are you aware that we offer patient financing that can spread out the cost of an annual supply of contact lenses? May I tell you how it works?”
INSPIRE CHANGE. “If there’s anything you could change about your contact lenses, what would it be?”
ENABLE EXPERIENCE. “Would you like to try a pair of contact lenses while you shop for new eyeglasses?”
SELL ANNUAL SUPPLIES. “Have you thought about an annual supply? Did you know that we offer patient financing to help you with that?