By Andrew Paik, OD
Dec. 6, 2017
Patient loyalty is not a given. It’s earned through trusting connections with you and your practice. From first impressions to ongoing eyecare relationships, the smallest personal touches can have the most lasting impact on patients and your business. Sustaining four optometric practices in retail settings over the past six years, these are three of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned. Whether you’re in a private practice, or a more commercial environment, these insights will empower you to leverage patient engagement and make your practice a community asset for eyecare.
Tap into your community through personal connection
To reach beyond drive-by and walk-in exposure, you need to reach out a hand and connect, cultivating a patient base in the local area. Visit nearby businesses, pharmacies and doctors’ offices to get your name out there. Engage with neighboring store personnel and extend your services personally to your favorite barista, salon stylist, or the people you naturally check in with on a regular basis. With a happy balance of authentic connection and marketing tools to amplify your presence, these daily interactions can lead to immediate patient relationships, reinforced beyond exam scheduling.
In the eyes of your patients, where you practice reflects how you practice
When it comes to fostering confidence in the quality and modernity of your practice, looks matter. An attractively built environment with bright, clean window displays will boost walk-in curiosity. Whether you use flat-screen TVs or printed designs, signage should have visual appeal and relevant messaging. Entryways and waiting areas need to feel inviting.
In a LensCrafters at Macy’s, for example, that might be your fashion-forward display of frames. At an independent practice, perhaps it’s a comfy reception area with magazines and some easy-to-clean kids’ entertainment. When you’re confident in the visual appeal of your store, you can focus on the impressions made by the most important element of all—your care as a doctor.
Authentically engage with patients as people
Be authentic. Be visible. Use the power of the white coat: be a beacon for walk-ins and anyone looking for expert knowledge. Answer questions, and make a point to be personable even with those browsing, while showing sensitivity to those less socially inclined.
A solid retention strategy requires commitment to your network of one-on-one relationships, where each patient is treated as an individual.
If you have time between exams and paperwork, hang out in your reception area or out on the floor. Keep a few conversation starters on hand, and be ready to pivot the discussion to vision care. These touches go a long way in sustaining loyal and lasting patient relationships.
Andrew Paik, OD, subleases a LensCrafters at Macy’s located in Chicago’s historic State Street Macy’s, as well as three Target Opticals in the surrounding area. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org