New patients are essential to growing a successful practice,
however many marketing programs are expensive, and have mixed
success. Practice growth from existing patients is often
overlooked, yet generates the best returns.
When it comes to existing patients, systems are needed to capture every potential dollar. Studies show that the top 30% of patients contribute up to 70% of the practice revenue. Your patients trust you, and you can provide them with services and products over and above the standard eye exam.
Some overlooked strategies:
- always schedule a follow-up appointment at the end of each appointment
- generate automated and by-phone appointment reminders, with dedicated staff to execute
- conduct patient surveys to learn of potential wait time, service and product improvements
- reach out directly to select patients to encourage loyalty
- keep detailed patient notes to identify candidates for new products or services
- maintain well-stocked, popular selection of glasses, contacts and accessories to sell right after the eye exam
- email or mail targeted promotional specials
- ask about family and friends referrals, and the potential to offer them your products and services
How are you raising the bar? To be viewed as your patients' trusted optometrist, where your opinions and practice brand are valued, you and your staff need to know that the practice operates as a business first, and cannot meet patient needs unless it's financially successful.
Increasing the value of your practice today, and tomorrow, is not just a function of acquiring new patients, but retaining and growing a loyal patient base that will purchase multiple products and services for many years.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2016 e-newsletter for the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO).
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.