The internet has made it easier for people to make purchases. It has also helped transform people into smart shoppers with the availability of online reviews and consumer sites offering tips on how to purchase items and where to get the best deal for what they’re looking for.
This isn’t much different in the optometric world. Online sales have cut into your optometric practice profits; first with the purchasing of contacts now with frame sales. To know how to compete with these online retailers, you need to know how your patients think, and understand how sites are telling patients to purchase their eyecare.
Knowing how your patients shop and how popular consumer sites educate your patients on making important optical purchases will help your practice create a strategy where you’re better equipped to help your patients with their needs.
Your web reputation is important. According to Software Advice survey, 47% of the respondents would go to an out-of-network doctor for one with more favorable reviews than an in-network doctor with similar qualifications Your community is likely to check out your web presence before they think about calling your practice to schedule an appointment. Using online review sites to research your reputations, your prospected patients are looking to find positive remarks and weed out any practices with negative reviews or low scores.
If you haven’t looked at how your community and patients are ranking your practice, it’s time you start. Letting negative comments pile up will leave prospective clients running from your practice and could even turn away existing patients. Always work to resolve negative reviews and learn from them to help make your practice better for the next patient.
Your patient’s insurance coverage can help cut hundreds of dollars on the overall cost of their frames. With the cost savings from insurance payments, it helps your patients ease their mind on the buying decision to help focus on frames that match their needs.
Many insurance plans can be difficult to understand. As your patients schedule appointments or browse your frame boards, help them understand how they can best use their insurance to reduce the amount of out-of-pocket expenses they will have to incur.
One of the advantages your practice can have over online retailers is the duration of your warranties and return policies. Warranties and return policies help patients reduce their buyer’s remorse so they can become more comfortable about making a selection that works best for them.
Always keep an eye on your online competitor’s return policies. While some online retailers have a 30 day return policy, your practice can extend your plans to your patients or even offer extended warranties that go beyond what your competitors offer.
If you take the time to help ease the patient’s mind and work with them to make smart purchasing decisions that meet their financial, style, vision, and comfort needs, then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the return. While it may be a rare to ever issue a full refund, if your patients know they have that option, they may be more willing to do business with you.
The last step your prospected patients may take when selecting a new eye doctor or purchasing frames is to look for promotions that can help reduce their overall costs. If you’re running a promotion, or can reduce costs, identify how much the patient can save and how the patient can use the savings to purchase a second pair of frames.
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