Insights From Our Editors

4 Keys to Creating an Effortless Experience for Your Patients

Self-check-in portals like this have expedited and smoothed the patient experience in Dr. Sorrenson’s office.

By Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

June 21, 2023

I recently co-lectured with Mick Kling, OD, for a group of Vision Source doctors on  a program titled the “Business of Optometry,” affectionately known as “BOO.” During our second session, BOO 2.0, our primary focus was on taking your business to the next level.

One book that I have recommended in previous articles is “The Effortless Experience” by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman and Rick DeLisi. It presents a study that challenges the conventional wisdom on what creates loyal customers. The study reveals that most customer interactions are more likely to result in dissatisfaction rather than in establishing customer loyalty.

Their research points to the importance of creating an “effortless experience” for customers. Essentially, a business that is easy to do business with is what cultivates returning customers, encourages repeat purchases, and generates positive reviews and referrals. The key is to provide an experience with smooth transitions and minimal friction, as this is what ultimately leads to customer loyalty.

In the research it is noted that creating  a “WOW” experience can be expensive, and that even a “WOW” experience cannot compensate for a complicated and effort-intensive customer experience. I’ll say that again: a “WOW” experience cannot compensate for a complicated and effort-intensive customer experience. Very important!

So, to help inspire loyalty and  propel our practices to the next level, there are four aspects we need to consider in terms of our  patient’s journey: Eliminate, Simplify, Automate and Elevate.

Let’s delve into what these four elements entail:

Eliminate: Scrutinize and eliminate non-essential components. Consider if you really need all the history questions you are currently asking your  patients. Do  you need all the preliminary diagnostic tests, and do you ask for excessive and often-duplicated patient information? By eliminating what is not essential, we can increase efficiency, smooth transitions and reduce friction. Although it may not be an easy task, elimination of the non-essential is the most straightforward approach to achieving this goal of an effortless experience for the patient.

Simplify: Reducing the number of lens options, contact lens choices, or contact lens fitting fee levels, are examples of simplification techniques that can be implemented.

Automate: Leveraging automation can significantly enhance the patient experience. Implementing automated messages to request Google Reviews, automated replies for missed calls and automated reminders for appointments or glasses arrival can contribute to taking your practice to the next level.

Elevate: Delegation is one way to elevate your practice. By learning to empower and delegate tasks to your staff, you can free up more time to work on your business instead of being consumed by day-to-day operations.

To explore how you can apply these principles to your practice, gather your staff for a brainstorming session. Discuss what aspects can be eliminated, simplified, automated or elevated. You may be surprised at their suggestions and what your staff has heard recommended or complained about by patients.

We recently did this at our weekly staff meeting  and quickly identified areas that needed improvement. Give it a try, it’s a great place to start—I bet it will yield valuable insights on how to create a more effortless experience to inspire customer loyalty and propel your practice to the next level!!

Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO, is president of Lakeline Vision Source in Cedar Park, Texas, and the Professional Editor of Review of Optometric Business (ROB). To contact her:


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