Ophthalmic Lenses

Doctor’s Choice Part II: Building Loyalty One Patient at a Time

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This is the second in a three-part series highlighting how practices are adapting to key market challenges, including the products and professional relationships that are helping practice owners adapt and win.

By Carolyn J. Davis, OD

Dec. 2, 2020

The stress of the pandemic has made it more important than ever for practices to show patients the value of the doctor expertise, services and products they offer. Patients are looking for providers they can depend on in a crisis to take care of basic needs like eye health and visual clarity. When you provide the most advanced technology for glasses, so patients can see the difference receiving care from your practice makes, lifelong patients are created who return and refer many others.

Varilux® progressive lenses are some of the most valuable eyewear resources I provide to ensure my patients leave each visit to our office with the highest in visual quality and comfort. Recommending Varilux lenses shows our patients we won’t compromise on their vision care. This enables us to help patients during a difficult time by providing elevated care, while creating a practice differentiator that sets us apart.

6 Ways to Gain Loyal Patients

Prescribe & Deliver the Best. Prescribe products that give patients the solution they need the first time around, with no need to return to the office for improvements or remakes. Patients return year after year because they are happy, rather than a few weeks later because there is a problem.

Empower Patient Comfort & Success. When prescribing eyewear like progressive lenses, make it easy for patients. Products like Varilux lenses, with their wide viewing zones, mean patients experience an easy transition to their new eyewear. Patients will happily tell everyone they know about their simple and satisfying experience with your practice.

Make Your Practice the ONLY Practice for Patients. When products are prescribed that meet all of the patient’s needs, and do so by enabling excellent, seamless vision, they will quickly find that other practices and online retailers fall short. They will be back in your office in short order.

Expand Access to Visual Solutions. Partnering with a company like Essilor gives your practice the ability to pass along savings to patients, enabling eyewear promotions, like second-pair sales, that work for both the patient and practice.

Develop the Staff Your Patients Need. A partner like Essilor provides staff training that makes it easy for patients to understand the benefits and value of the products the doctor has prescribed. Such training support aligns the whole staff around the same, winning patient education messaging.

Make Friends & Family Referrals the Only Necessary Marketing. Great products that provide quick, easy solutions for patients, improving their lives, require little more than great word-of-mouth. Products like Varilux lenses are the generators of that kind of positive, organic advertising.

Only the Best for Our Patients
Our philosophy is to provide patients the best vision with every lens we prescribe. When I prescribe Varilux lenses to my patients, I know that they will not call our office with adaptation issues and that there is little to no chance that a remake will be required. In fact, by prescribing Varilux lenses, thanks to their quality, our remake rate is near zero. Our patients trust us to provide them our best visual solutions, which means with Varilux lenses, we don’t compromise when it comes to their vision care.

Superior Visual Solutions
Patients want lenses that will work the first time around, that are easy to adapt to, and provide them with sharp vision at every distance. When our patients are prescribed Varilux lenses, they experience enhanced sharp vision and a short adjustment period to their new progressive lenses, which solidifies their trust in us as the experts in their eyecare.

The level of visual acuity that Varilux lenses provide our patients enhances their visual experience and allows them to see sharply at all distances and even in dim lighting. Varilux lenses also include innovative technologies that can significantly reduce the “swim” effect many patients experience in other progressive lenses and reduce the head movement necessary to achieve optimal vision. In fact, my patients often tell me that their Varilux lenses provide them with the natural vision they had before becoming presbyopic.

Achieving an Edge Over the Competition
We rarely, if ever, hear back from our patients who are wearing Varilux lenses because they are so happy with their new eyewear. Once in a while, when a patient does stray to another practice, they will return the following year because the eyewear the other practice provided did not match the visual quality of the progressive lenses they got from us. And when they come back, they will even apologize to us! Nothing creates better loyalty than lenses that provide natural, sharp vision and smooth transitions across vision zones.

Making it Easy for Patients to Get Everything They Need
My practice is in the Essilor Experts partnership program, which means we have the opportunity throughout the year to pass along great savings and opportunities to our patients. For example, we are able to offer second-pair packages in which the lenses for the second pair of glasses are free, so that the patient is only responsible for covering the cost of the frame. This creates an experience in which the patient leaves the office with a feeling of having won.

Developing a Staff that Provides Topnotch Care & Service
Superior products like Varilux lenses are only part of the benefit of having eyecare partners like Essilor. Another essential benefit is staff training. Essilor often sends reps to our office, and, during the pandemic, offers online meetings in which our staff learns how best to educate patients about the eyewear we prescribe.

Our entire office–not just our opticians–learns about the value of products like Varilux lenses, so if a patient asks anyone in our practice about why they should opt for the progressive lenses the doctor prescribed, the message will be the same. Patients will learn that Varilux lenses provide natural, comfortable vision with seamless viewing zones that can reduce the need to move their head to see sharply near, far, and every distance in between.

Generate Friends & Family Referrals with Best-in-Class Products
Our office has thrived and grown based entirely on positive word-of-mouth. We have invested in no paid advertising outside of publicizing new eyewear offers on social media.

When a presbyopic patient, who has struggled to regain the comfort of youthful vision, finds a solution that helps them live their best life, they remember the doctor and practice that made that solution possible. And they don’t keep it a secret. They let friends and family know where they, too, can find exactly the eyewear they need.

Carolyn J. Davis, OD, is the owner of ProCare Vision Center, in Troy, Ohio. To contact her:cdavis@procarevisioncenter.com

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