Next up in our series on thriving in a managed care world: Eric White, O.D., shares his strategies for connecting with (and keeping) patients
This is the last article in my series on increasing revenue even within managed care structures, and it deals with the importance of consistent patient contact and the power of social media.
BECAUSE HERE IS THE TRUTH: The absolute secret to surviving and thriving in the managed care world is to have good patients sitting in your chair wanting you to help them see better and live their lives better.
Here’s how I do it.
CREATE FAMILIARITY. A full schedule is always important to a practice’s revenue. If you put into practice what I have talked about previously, you know that once the patient is in your chair and you go above and beyond to make them feel like family, they’ll stay your patient.
When I walk into the exam room, I introduce myself as “Eric.” They already know I am a doctor because it’s on the door.
In my exam room, I want them to feel like family. I talk for a minute about their year, vacations they had, or just about their family. Think about this: Family does not leave family. If patients feel you are something different and special, they will stay.
CONNECT OFTEN. After the exam and optical visit, the next focus is to get them to come back next year. In the past we (probably like you) would send them a letter reminding them it was time to come back.
In today’s world, we need to stay in touch throughout the year. To do this, you need to get a correct email and text number at the time of the exam, and you can also ask them to follow you on your social channels. [Be sure to post consistently.]
We use this information to connect personally with patients at several points throughout the year. Begin with holiday texts, birthday texts, and even texts about upcoming events at the office. This keeps them in touch with their “family.”
START WITH A THANK-YOU. I send every patient a thank-you email. It is the cornerstone of creating a connection that makes them feel appreciated and special, and in turn creates loyalty.
At the end of the day I send a cut-and-paste thank-you email note thanking them for the opportunity to be their eye doctor. At the end of it, I add something personal we talked about—they know it’s really me, not a third party. Getting a personal thank-you note shows them I care.
ASK FOR A REVIEW. I end the email by asking them to leave a Google or Yelp review for me. Asking for a review has several benefits:
- I’ll instantly know if we got a wrong email and can get the correct one.
- If the patient had any issues with the exam or visit, I can correct them immediately, instead of in a year when they can’t remember why they don’t want to come back and I’ve lost them as a patient.
- Luckily most of the time they are happy, so by asking for a review I get very favorable ones that build the practice’s reputation.
- They now have my personal email and cell number for whenever they need me. Rarely is this abused, but when they need me, I am right there—that’s what family does.
In today’s world, we need to do something just a little different from the norm, and if you implement these simple steps you will be able to survive—and thrive—in the managed care world we are all dealing with.
—ERIC WHITE, O.D.
Missed our other columns in the series?
This concludes EB’s four-part series on navigating the managed care conundrum. Did you miss the first three? Find them at eyecarebusiness.com .
Article 1 discussed the importance (and simplicity) of Doctor-Driven Dispensing.
Article 2 dealt with how to maximize your specialty testing, and the importance of not giving away your services.
Article 3 covered using today’s advanced contact lens designs to increase sales and patient satisfaction, and to embrace the growth in specialty and scleral contact lenses.