While the typical contact lens wearer’s lifetime value to the practice is higher, the contact lens fitting and training process can be a lengthy and expensive process. Without a good training and fitting process in place, it might feel like you’re under-charging for the amount of time your staff are spending with a patient.
We used a technique in our office, inspired by Marcus Sheridan in his book “They Ask, You Answer,” that cut our contact lens training time in half with drastically fewer failed fittings.
Prior to becoming a world-renowned marketing guru, Marcus sold in-ground pools. He discovered that if he sent homework to his prospective pool clients, and they completed the homework, they were significantly more likely to convert and become a customer. By only pursuing the prospects who did the homework, he avoided many unproductive visits with prospects (sometimes many hours of drive-time away) who weren’t ever going to buy a pool. The prospects that did the homework were much more engaged, closed more often, and in less time.
How did we apply his principle to contact lens fittings? We created a similar system where our patients are required to do homework before their training, and just like Marcus, we will cancel their appointment if they do not complete their homework! This has led to a dramatic increase in efficiency, as the non-serious contact lens fits end up canceling themselves, and the serious contact lens fits come in so well-prepared that training takes half the time.
You might be thinking this sounds like an intricate program to put in place, however it’s actually very simple. Here’s a two step process to get it implemented in your office.
- Create the homework you are going to give your patients. It can be very simple. For our homework, we send patients to our website to watch this excellent video How To Put In and Take Out Contacts For Beginners created by Ryan Corte, OD, of IntroWellness. We also give the patient a bottle of artificial tears to practice touching their eyes, pretending like they’re doing it with a contact lens just like in the video.
- A few days before their fitting appointment, our staff calls to check in and see how they are doing with their homework. If they did the homework we keep their appointment, if they did not, then we cancel the appointment and have the patient – or parent – call back to schedule if they’re interested in going forward.
While cancelling their appointment might sound harsh, it has really helped sort out who is truly motivated. We found that rescheduling them to a later date simply led to more rescheduling before they eventually never finished. And if we let them come in without having done the practice, our training took twice as long and our failure rate was much higher.
Since implementing this system, job satisfaction for staff is up as they no longer deal with difficult trainings or unmotivated patients. We are happier having staff spend less time on trainings. Best of all, patients come in prepared and enjoy the fast success! It’s really been a win across-the-board for all involved.