Practice Management

The Service-Driven Sales Approach that Increased Our Revenue Per Exam 10%

Colleen Lorenzo with staff members of True Focus Eye Care, where she serves as office manager. Lorenzo says that it is superb patient service, above all else, that drives optical sales.

By Colleen Lorenzo
Office Manager
True Focus Eye Care

Jan. 18, 2023

Patients have many options of where to receive eyecare and make purchases. When they can visit a practice that offers the kind of service they haven’t experienced elsewhere, they are likely to return for care and stick with you when it comes time to purchase eyewear and contact lenses.

Here is how our practice uses what we call “service-driven sales” to build a practice with profitability that is growing by the year.

Make the Relationships the Focus of the Practice
We have created a true relationship focus in our practice. This starts from our front-desk experience, to our doctor’s consultative and comprehensive care and through to the recommendation of glasses and contact lenses. As many other practices are speeding up service to increase quantity, we have chosen to take the quality route, and this is deeply rooting to our patient experience.

For example, if our doctors are referring a patient to an ophthalmologist, we coordinate that appointment and follow that process through. This keeps the patient with us and allows us to be informed through that care cycle, with the patient returning for post-surgery glasses, continued routine exams and other ongoing needs.

Create a Practice Culture Around Quality Service
Our team is like-minded in our approach to service. This makes it simple when a team member needs to invest extra time with a patient or work to find a solution to a patient challenge. We know that our common goal is to deliver the kind of exceptional service that builds trust and leads to sales for our office.

When patients are in our optical, for instance, they experience conversations with our opticians that are more than transactional. Our opticians seek to get to know the patient’s lifestyle and style preferences. They engage the patient in conversation and take time to ensure the patient is genuinely excited about the eyewear that is picked out.

When serving contact lens patients, our doctors take time to discuss with patients the best lenses to meet their needs, and engage the patient to know for sure that the patient is comfortable in their lenses. When they are sent out front to check-out, our staff makes sure the patient understands how easy it is to order from us, and that we stand behind their care and our sales, so they know that, unlike an online retailer, they can contact us with questions about comfort and the wearing regimen.

Train Employees How to Deliver a High Level of Service
We train our employees to have the kinds of conversations outlined above, including how to field common questions from patients about their experience in our office and the eyewear and contact lenses they buy from us.

If a patient calls us unhappy with their new glasses, for example, our employees know how to engage that patient in productive problem-solving, asking for in-depth information and inviting the patient to come back to the office at their convenience to work with an optician to see what improvements can be made. They know when the doctor might have to be brought into the conversation to adjust a prescription, such as for progressive eyewear which the patient is not adapting to within a reasonable time frame.

Within our monthly team meetings, we discuss patient interactions and talk through where we could improve and where we excelled. We might point out, for instance, how an employee at the front desk went the extra mile to help a patient in need of an emergency appointment, or how an optician was able to capture a sale with a challenging patient, who, at first, expressed a desire to walk with their prescription.

We also note patient encounters that could have gone better, such as a patient who might have had to wait longer than they should have, or a patient whose sale we were not able to capture. We would examine the points in the conversation that lost the sale for us.

Set Expectations with Employees for Accountability
Just as our team has been trained in what to do to deliver a high level of service, they also have been trained to be accountable for fulfilling their role in the patient experience. They are celebrated for wins and communicated with one-on-one when service is delivered that was not at the level we trained them to deliver.

We look at practice metrics as a team, so we understand together when we are on the right rack, and when we need to make improvements. In 2022, for example, we shared with our team that our revenue per exam grew 10 percent over 2021 as a result of our more consultative, service-focused approach.

Improvements that Move Metrics
Adjustments that have helped us enjoy that 10 percent revenue-per-exam growth include making changes to our intake form process and patient notification processes based on patient feedback.

In the optical, we now offer packages that are more cost effective, but still come with a great warranty. Contact lens patients have free shipping, free returns of unopened boxes, and we also work closely with them as they go through the contact lens trial process.

In addition, we are implementing an EHR upgrade currently, in an effort to provide the most up-to-date technology and an enhanced patient experience.

We recently introduced a new contact lens ordering platform, which has given patients a more streamlined contact lens ordering experience, so they never have a reason to order contacts from anyone but us.

Service will always be what differentiates one experience from another… so make the most of it! For us, that means making sure our practice is equipped in staff training, office processes and technology to deliver on our quality-of-service promise to patients.

Colleen Lorenzo is the Office Manager at True Focus Eye Care in Port Richey, Fla. To contact her: Admin@truefocuseyecare.com

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