If you want to offer patients five-star customer service, you may as well take inspiration from the best.
Invision Magazine highlights optometry practices that go above and beyond in their customer care. These are practices that understand that exceptional service builds loyalty, brings referrals and keeps staff engaged.
Ziegler Leffingwell Eyecare in Wisconsin stands out. The space has a concierge-style reception and a jungle play room for kids. Patients can explore eyewear options online, which come with staff’s top picks for different looks. Employees have cue cards with points about the eyewear brands carried in-practice so they’re ready to answer any questions.
Clear Eye Associates + Optical has reworked the eyewear buying experience for each customer. Why? “The age-old idea of personalized service, customer experience, and product expertise has become the linchpin for growing the business,” says owner Dr. David Moore.
The patient experience starts with a welcome item – such as a cappuccino, craft beer or chocolate. Even the music and scent during a customer visit have been tailored to their preferences. After a visit, a handwritten thank-you note and cookie are mailed to each patient. The Clear team has also gone above and beyond in studying various insurance plans, allowing them to quickly give pricing quotes to patients.
In Ontario, this OD gives every female patient a flower after her exam. Patients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, says Dr. Abby Jakob, who performs an OCT screening on all adult patients, and retinal screenings on most patients.
Why does all of this amount to five-star customer service?
- Service exceeds delivering on a patient’s need for an eye exam
- The ideas surprise, delight, help and are tailored to patients
- The whole team treats the patient as a VIP from before their visit to after it’s done
- The customer service experience is ultimately designed to address the concerns and priorities of the patient, from help with buying decisions, to keeping their young ones entertained, to cleaning their frames (Clear has a machine to help with this last one)
What independent practices can do
Of course, practices don’t need all of the above to nail exceptional service. They also don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on decor or new ideas. Simply embedding into your operations the values behind these examples can have an impact on your customer service experience at a fraction of the cost.
It only takes time, a bit of organization and a few office supplies to create cue cards about the eyewear brands you carry. This is incredibly valuable: if an optician is away or occupied, any staff member can better answer some patient questions about frames. This empowers your staff with knowledge, and allows them to promote your brands in their recalling efforts and customer interactions. Taking the time to learn the ins and outs of major benefits plans can also go a long way in helping out your patients.
Your practice can swap a jungle-themed room for fresh paint and animal decals to engage your youngest patients. Some books and blocks and toys can also do the trick.
Even remembering a customer’s coffee or tea preference can make a patient feel valued. Have staff and recallers note patient likes and interests in your database when they come up in conversation. If you’re looking to refresh your gift or snack ideas, considering partnering with another local business that may offer a product deal in exchange for promotion.
The ideas are endless. The key is to start thinking outside the box when it comes to how your optometry practice defines customer service.