3 Actions Powering a 2-5% Capture Rate Increase Every Year Since 2016

The optical of Drs. Sehy and Jones Optometrists, where the author serves as practice manager. She says that targeted improvements have significantly moved the needle on capture rate.

By Shelley Smith, ABOC, CPOA

July 20, 2022

Eyewear capture rate is an important marker of the level of service and profitability you are achieving. You want to know that patients are happy enough with your eyewear selection, pricing, and shopping experience, to choose you over a competitor. You also want to know that your optical is capturing the sales necessary to grow a profitable business.

Here are key actions we took in our optical that made a significant difference to the number of eyewear sales we capture.

Using Metrics-Tracking Technology to Measure & Grow
The first step to improving capture rate is knowing and tracking it, giving your staff the ability to track it, and talking about it regularly.

There are great digital solutions to help you track capture rate like ABB Analyze and EDGEPro. We use such a system to track our capture rate, among other key practice numbers. We implemented this software and got our staff logins, which has given them the ability to track capture rate, among many other metrics, almost in real time. The application is user friendly, so little training was needed to teach them how to use it. After management used it for about two weeks we gave our leadership team a tutorial and they taught their teams. Each department in our organization is responsible for tracking certain key performance indicators, and capture rate is one of them.

The use of metrics-tracking technology has given our doctors an easier ability to track where we are with capture rate, so they can tinker with their patient education approach and the optical hand-off to find what works best in capturing sales.

Since implementing this technology in April 2022, we have been able to easily track capture rates day-to-day rather than having to wait for end-of-month reports. It has given us the ability to have meaningful conversations with our doctors and staff on what is working and what isn’t in capturing sales. We are able to change strategy quickly to continuously improve.

Over the short time that we’ve been using metrics-tracking technology we have already increased our capture rate 2 percent over 2021.

Use of a Pager System to Communicate Between Exam Room & Optical
About eight years ago, we implemented the use of a pager system to give our doctors the ability to call staff members to exam rooms when the patient is ready for the next step in our office.

Initially we used a pager system with physical pagers, but have since upgraded to a digital solution called BlueNote Software, which gives the doctor the ability to specify what they need. Since we have been using a pager system the doctor no longer walks the patient to the check-out area. An optician is called to the room and walks the patient to check-out.

Editor’s Note: There are many intra-office team communications systems to choose from. Click HERE to see the many options.

In addition to saving the doctor time in walking the patient to their next destination in the office, it gives opticians the opportunity to talk to the patient about eyewear, which more often than not, results in capturing a sale that we would have lost if the doctor was the one to take them to check-out.

When our physical pager system became outdated, and we started having difficulty getting the equipment repaired, we started looking at digital solutions. When we decided on BlueNote, we installed it on every computer in our office and had it customized to suit our needs.

We did a half-hour staff meeting with our doctors and staff to train them on how to use the system. Within the first three months of using it we changed our customized settings a couple times, and because the system is so user friendly, we just sent out e-mail communications on these changes. There was no additional training needed.

The only change our doctors made was to let the patient know that someone would be coming to the exam room to meet them. Typically, the doctor pages the optician two minutes before they are ready for them to give them time to get to the exam room for a seamless handoff.

We have been using a pager system for about eight years in total. Through that time period, we increased our positive patient reviews significantly, and we have seen a steady increase in capture rate of 2-5 percent. I believe this system improved the overall patient experience, which, in turn, led to improved sales.

Strategic Frame Board Management
The strategy that improved our capture rate over anything else was implementing systematized frame board management. Before we implemented this system, when a frame was sold, we pulled it directly off the board and sent it to the lab. Then, we filled the board space with a frame that we kept in under-stock. We began having trouble keeping our best frames in stock and ended up wasting money returning stale frames that never sold.

When we initially implemented this system we did it ourselves without the help of any outside programs. We determined the brands we wanted to keep and sold off the brands we didn’t. This was a long process, but it was worth it. We then created a process of ordering all frames, rather than enclosing them from the board, so we could ensure we always had the best products on hand.

When the Vision Source Frame Dream program was born, we started using that program for all our new offices, which made frame inventory management much easier. The program provides additional rebates and discounts on the frames we purchase, as well as complete pair purchases.

To optimize our new system of managing frame inventory, we had to break the habit of enclosing the frame with each order and create the habit of placing frame orders correctly. Other than that, there was not much training needed other than how to place orders online.

This strategy adds zero time to appointments, but increases profit dramatically. The first full year we had this system in place was 2017, and our optical capture rate increased by 12 percent over 2016. Since then, we have steadily increased our capture rate by 2-5 percent year-after-year.

Shelley Smith, ABOC, CPOA, is the Director of Operations with Drs. Sehy and Jones Optometrists in Effingham, Ill. To contact her:


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