To make an optometric practice truly profitable it is necessary to juggle many things at the same time: marketing, employees, clients, best brands of lenses, training, new equipment…So easy to lose something! In this article, you will read about 10 optometry centers that managed not only to survive the competition but also to increase their revenue. How? Read optometry practice management tips from 10 real centers and find out.
Let’s start with the challenges of the optometry business. Key challenges in 2023 in the optometry business according to Optometric Management and Eyecare Leaders are the following. There are 8 of them, but the retention of specialists, competition with large chains and retailers as well as marketing and sales are the most tangible for the majority of optometry businesses.
RETENTION OF EMPLOYEES
This problem seems crucial considering the huge lack of optometry specialists in the world. According to WHO,14 million optometrists are needed globally when there are only 331K available. There are several strategies that optometry businesses can use to retain optometrists:
- Delegating more examinations to technicians helped the partner with Mountain View Eye to generate $2,600 in additional revenue per week. Work like performing pupil testing, versions (EOMs) and dilation were added to the pretesting protocols.
- Using artificial intelligence for retina scan analysis. For the majority of optometrists, OCT scan analysis is a challenging and problematic task and more than half of optometrists are not confident about their interpretation skills. Using Artificial Intelligence for automated OCT scan analysis can make the work of optometrists more efficient: increasing the number of patients who undergo OCT examination and subsequently increasing the revenue.
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MARKETING AND SALES ACTIVITIES
- Concentrating on eyewear sales. OD Perspective CEO claims that 2 simple techniques can add $75.000 to the annual revenue of any optometry center. Decreasing Patient’s Own Frame (POF) Glasses Sales by communicating the need of updating the frame with the lens. Communicating the need for all types of lenses (for computers, reading, sunglasses) can be a very effective technique for revenue generation which is often neglected by optometry owners. This is one of the optometry practice management tips that seems to work for any center.
- Providing exquisite luxury experience. The owner of Eye Boutique in Houston claims that a new strategy when he decided to concentrate on VIP clients turned out to be much more effective. Now his optometry averages 3 $500+ purchases per patient annually”
- Using social media and digital marketing tools extensively. Instagram, Facebook, Google Ads, SEO for promotion. Simply because your clients are doing it. For instance, “an average sale from a patient who has come into an office solely from social media marketing is around $750” which is a very good result according to a Corona Vision Center.
Instagram, Facebook, and Google Ads are the most effective digital marketing channels for communication with potential clients
- Providing a small warranty to all products, among other small changes, can bring $60000 annually. That is the experience of the owner of Brilliant Eyes Vision Center.
- Educating patients leads to $55K annually for the owner of Bright Family Eye Care. What does it mean? The employees of the center take time to explain what they are examining the patients for in detail so the last would prioritize screening. This has a financial benefit, as well, since the center charges patients for wide-field imaging on a screening basis
COMPETITION WITH LARGE OPTOMETRY CHAINS
Private optometry centers find it hard to compete with chains, like Specsavers, in terms of prices or the speed of service. Chains often have better locations and can spend much more money on marketing. So how can private optometry centers win this competition? There are several things that big companies don’t have:
- Offering personalized service and building a relationship with patients. The key to winning the competition with large chains is building a local presence. Your optometrist center can be known and valued if you really care about the community, know each of your clients personally and understand their pains and needs. More than that, 97% of marketers witnessed a rise in business outcomes as a result of personalization according to Salesforce.
- Providing unique and high-quality products not available at chain stores. That is also an interesting opportunity for a small but flexible business. For instance, some optometry centers build their presence relying on rare brands of glasses with sophisticated designs. The global therapeutic contact lenses market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.90% from 2021-2027 and designer brands will play a crucial role in this growth.
- Providing exceptional customer service and after-care. Communication with customers is the core of relationships. Today it’s easier to communicate with customers using the abundance of social media, messengers, and telemedicine. Optometry centers that take care of their clients not only during visits but afterward as well are much more profitable. The best messengers for communication with clients are
WhatsApp (offers several business solutions as well), Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Viber, WeChat.
- Storing all the patients’ data effectively and securely is the key to fast and reliable services inside the optometry centers. There is a variety of EHR systems for optometry centers, and it’s hard to find the best optometry practice software. However, it is always wise to rely on testimonials.
Here is the review of the best optometric practice management software. Acuitas activEHR 2.0, MedFlow EHR, Liquid EHR, EyePegasusEHR, Eye Cloud Pro, OD Link, ManagementPlus, Medesk are the best optometric practice management software according to our reserach and reviews.
PATIENTS’ NO SHOWS
A patient no-show is a critical problem today for the majority of optometry centers. Patients tend to ignore yearly checkups and forget about follow-up visits whenever they feel a little better.
- Using virtual check-ins increased profitability and reduced our cost of goods sold (COGS) for the partner at Wichita Optometry. Virtual check-ins mean that patients can use audio or video technology for communication with the OD instead of visiting the optometry. This helps to decrease staff, become less dependent on employees and reduce payroll expenses. More than that, it gives more freedom to patients in terms of the time of the “virtual visit”. There are plenty of tools for virtual check-ins, but Zoom, Skype, Teams can be one of the most reliable.
- Using software to remind about future visits can be the solution. For instance, Weave software helped Serenity i Care optometry to reduce the number of no-shows up to 30% from 75%. This software allows informing clients about future visits automatically via e-mails and texts. No need for a team to have an endless amount of calls that are not responded to. Other solutions that might work are:
Demandforce, Solutionreach, and Simplifeye can be a great software for reminding patients about visits. This is the best optometry prcatice management software to deal with forgetfullness.
By focusing on these strategies and continuously seeking ways to improve patient engagement, streamline operations and increase efficiency, optometry practices can increase their revenue and sustain long-term success.
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