Marketing will always play a vital role in your practice but know that it is not the “only” key in attracting new patients. Quality service and customer care take your patients from interested to loyal patrons, and from happy customers to willing brand ambassadors. Nothing can be more delightful for your dear patients but to receive the best service and care each time they visit your practice and each time they interact with you or with any of your staff there or online.
Just like in marketing, going full on and committed to customer service and care require a lot of hard work, patience, testing, learning, and sometimes spending. There is no “one size, fits all” when it comes to implementing this in your business. You will need to design a strategy that will bring forth a win-win solution for you and your patients. Your strategy is going to be based on what your marketing and business goals are but please be guided by the following reminders to better ensure that you are on the right path towards maintaining an outstanding customer service program.
Make sure that your front liners have ample knowledge about your products and services.
Train your staff to answer basic questions about your products and services. This is necessary for times when you are away, is attending to another patient, or is busy with other work at your optical store. Some customers especially walk-ins want quick answers to their enquiries and it would be helpful if your front liners are able to accommodate them. These questions might be about pricing, product model or brand, product care and warranty, your return and exchange policy, booking and scheduling, or a few questions about your practice. Never about a diagnosis, recommended treatment for a vision-related issue or interpreting the results of an eye exam as these should all be addressed by optometrists only.
Provide easy and hassle-free options for patients to reach you.
Make it easy for your patients to lodge in their messages, queries, and concerns. Phone is the
traditional method but know that most of your patients have access to the internet so be sure to
meet them there as well. Here are a few ways by which you can leverage the power of the internet
so as to provide assistance to your patients:
- Your website’s contact form
- A chat service on your website
- Facebook Messenger
- Instagram Direct Messaging
- Twitter Direct Messaging
Choose a method that is right for your market. Make sure too that you are comfortable in managing your chosen channel or channels as you and your staff need to be on top of monitoring, answering, and documenting every customer query that may come in from there. Also, regardless of where a message is received, your team should be able to get back to your patient within a fixed response time say, no longer than 24 hours.
Do you need help in activating any of the channels mentioned above? Let us know. We might be able to help.
Identify your response time and resolution time.
Making your patients wait for an answer or a solution isn’t going to create a good impression.
Patients who are made to wait too long will consider going to the next optical store. Worse, other customers will contemplate on posting a bad review or complaint on social media.
To avoid these, make sure to set response time and resolution time limits. Response time is the window hours that you give yourself and your team to get back to your patients for their messages. It is at this period that you acknowledge the receipt of their questions or messages. If an answer is available then fire away. If you are yet to determine a solution then set their expectations by mentioning the resolution time say in the next three to five business days.
Offer relevant, delightful, and helpful information.
Caring for your patients involves providing more information about various ways on how to care for their eyes and how to prevent them from developing any eye disorders and other vision-related problems. You can do this through a blog, your social media posts, podcasts, webinars, even answering questions in patient forums online and in events.
This also lets them know that you are knowledgeable as you are able to provide helpful insights. This will further enhance your credibility as a go-to eye care professional. All of these will make your patients feel that they are in good hands.
Learn how to explain medical terms using basic and easy-to- understand words.
Most of your customers are not familiar with the terms that you use in your profession so please have the patience to explain them in layman’s terms. Old customers might have picked up a few terms already or are somehow used to these terms that you use but be more accommodating to new ones who visit your optical store, website, or company page on social media. Remember, the aim is to increase their awareness about eye care and for them to understand your recommendations. Using jargons might just be a little bit confusing and overwhelming.
Be very willing to listen to your patients all the time.
Any business owner who does not have the patience to listen to their customers will find a difficult time growing their company. Most business decisions are derived from how customers react to their products and services and so if you don’t know how to listen and gather feedback then you are missing on very important customer data. How is this done?
- Spending ample time with your patients when they visit your store
- Not hesitating to talk to them when they call
- Attending to complaints posted on social media or messages sent via direct messaging
- Checking how your content is fairing online via Google Analytics
- Checking social media data reports
Be friendly and professional.
Your patients need to see you as someone who is trustworthy and dependable. Health is a personal matter and it usually takes a while before patients open up about their concerns and health issues. Take on a friendly approach and show that their questions and concerns will always be accommodated. At the same time, never leave out professionalism. Don’t go overly casual and easy. Instead, project yourself as an experienced and knowledgeable eye care specialist. This is quality service.
Were you able to catch all of our 5 tips for promoting your practice? View our Marketing Tips 1 to 4 here. If you think you need help in implementing any of them then email us at email@example.com. We’ll be publishing more helpful marketing blogs for optometrists like you so stay tuned.