Your second-pair sales efforts may need a reboot, according to findings from Jobson Optical Research’s 2013 Eyewear and Eye Care Consumer Patterns Insights survey. For the third year in a row, 82 percent of respondents said they bought just one pair the last time they purchased eyeglasses. The percentage purchasing two or more pairs has also held steady–at 18 percent–for the last three years.
Click HERE to purchase Jobson Optical Research’s 2013 Eyewear and Eye Care Consumer Patterns Insights survey.
We need to stop looking at patient visits as one-time occurrences. It is time to step back and look at the bigger picture. The patient who responds that they cannot afford the second pair of glasses or the newer technology, is telling you the truth from their perspective right now at this very moment, however, they may not have considered the same situation spread over six months. What was too much for right now, may be acceptable when spread over six months. Six hundred dollars today is overwhelming, where $100/month is not.
The key principle here is make it easy for the patient to pay. Traditionally, offices offer cash, check and credit cards as methods of payment. In today’s world, there are more options. Options like CareCredit and PayPal can be utilized. What does your practice offer? Do you make it easy for patients to pay? Has your staff been trained to help patients by making it easy for them to pay?
It is not unusual for a staff person who is struggling financially to project those struggles onto patients. Instead of helping patients get the most care so that their quality of life is improved the most, they often look for the least expensive approaches–even if those approaches compromise the care the doctor was trying to deliver. It is important to talk to staff about how unfair it is to patients to take on the role of the patient’s banker rather than the patient’s eyecare provider.
But when we talk about helping the patient pay, aren’t we functioning as the patient’s banker? No. We are trying to help patients get the care they deserve. It’s still the banker who determines if the patient can pay for the care. We are not determining if the patient can pay for the care, we are just showing them options to help them get the care. We do not want to become bankers and offer payments over time that the practice is backing. No, that is the job of banks. Bankers have their jobs and we have ours. Let’s make sure we keep those roles clearly divided.
So, what is the assignment for this week? Review the payment policies of your practice. Do patients have more options than just cash, check, MasterCard and Visa? If not, then it is time to upgrade to help patients get the care they deserve. Is every patient being informed of extended payment options? If not, why not? Are patients using the additional options to get additional care? If not, what systems need adjusting so that more people can have an improved quality of life?