How To Help Your Practice Recover From COVID
As more people are vaccinated and the number of new COVID cases continues to decline in the United States, the country is slowly returning to normal activities. Since many patients missed their yearly eye exam appointments last year due to COVID, this is an excellent time to promote your practice and get patients to return.
Reassure Patients on Health and Safety Protocols
Letting patients know your office takes their health and safety seriously puts them at ease, particularly older or immunocompromised patients.
- Post safety protocols on your practice website and social media channels. Your patients will know ahead of time what to expect and don’t need to worry about feeling comfortable once they step into the practice.
- Stagger appointments to allow time for proper sanitization between exams. This also limits the number of patients in the optical or waiting area at a given time.
- Limit walk-ins and inform patients that pickups, adjustments/repairs, orders, exams or any other visits are by appointment. Prioritizing patients with appointments helps regulate the flow of customers in the office.
- Train staff to use standardized cleaning protocols and corresponding verbiage. For example, instruct them to let patients know that all frames on the board have been sanitized and provide a tray to put all tried-on frames. Have staff clean all equipment in front of the patient to provide reassurance.
- Have patients pre-select frames while waiting for their exam, which increases efficiency, improves patient experience and reduces traffic in the waiting area. The optician can get more involved in the selection process and reduce the number of frames each patient tries.
- Implement an automated online contact lens ordering system. There are numerous benefits, including reduced workload for staff, increased social distancing, direct lens shipment to patients, increased practice revenue with low overhead and improved patient convenience. Some automated systems include LensFerry, Dr. Contact Lens and YourLens.
Get The Word Out
Now that your practice has reopened, it’s time to celebrate with your patients! Take the opportunity to jump-start your marketing and generate excitement.
- Make sure your website is up to date and optimizes the user experience. The website should be visually attractive and easy to navigate, especially for making appointments, contacting your office and ordering contact lenses.
- Step up your email marketing by sending regular newsletters. This is an easy way to inform patients of promotions, practice protocol changes, exam reminders and other perks you can offer to recipients (such as an exclusive email list discount).
- Host an outdoor open house or trunk show. Promote the event through your website, social media and email newsletter. Additionally, consider printing flyers or postcards to distribute to local businesses and advertise at your practice with sandwich boards or window displays.
- Reach out to other medical professionals in the area and let them know you’re open for mutual referrals. Maintaining a great rapport means the doctors and their staff will remember you when it comes time for word-of-mouth referrals.
- Reevaluate your patient recall system. In addition to automated recall in your practice management system, have the staff compile a list of overdue patients. Call each patient to let them know their prescription has expired and offer to schedule an appointment. Give the patient an incentive to return, such as a discount on frames.
R&D Optical Lab is here to support your success as we move out of this pandemic. We provide private label lenses and unique eyewear solutions that set your practice apart from competitors. We’ll work with you to develop an enticing product line you can promote through newsletters, social media and open house events! Visit RandDOptical.com or call us at 513-273-4034. For more tips and our latest updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn!