Home Blog Best Practices for Improving Optical Customer Retention | Shamir

Best Practices for Improving Optical Customer Retention | Shamir

If you’re looking to retain your customer base as an optical professional, take a look at our best practices to help your organization.

January 16, 2023

 

ECP Helping Patient

Customer retention is the cornerstone of any consumer-facing business. In fact, it’s so elemental that in many ways it’s more important than actually acquiring new customers. This is obvious when we look at the immense marketing and advertising costs associated with finding those new patients, compared to relatively minimal costs of keeping those we currently have. 

 

But in today’s increasingly competitive business landscape, it’s not enough to simply keep the customer satisfied, this is a surefire way of losing them to aggressive competitors. No, today, we need to do more, we need to foster passionate brand ambassadors. When you make your clients happy, they’ll keep coming back. When you make your clients ecstatic, they’ll tell all their friends and family. 

 

So to help you as an eyecare professional retain your client base for the long term, I’d like to share my experience as President of Shamir Insight USA, with best practices that you can implement today, to keep your clients for tomorrow, and beyond. 

 

Service Above All

First on our list should be no surprise, yet bears repeating — service, service, service! There is no easier (or more cost effective) way to keep your customers happy for years to come, than by providing them with the highest levels of service. And though it’s a simple concept, it can be quite difficult to maintain throughout the day-to-day workings of your organization. Make sure to hold weekly meetings with your staff to listen to their concerns, share any upcoming developments, and to encourage them to be as open, empathetic and caring for your customers as they can. 

 

And customers are smarter than many business professionals give them credit for; that is to say, they can spot disingenuity, canned responses and plastered-on smiles. A personal, human interaction can go a long way towards establishing a trusting relationship with your customers. And that sense of humanity works top-down, meaning when higher ups treat subordinates with respect and kindness, those employees will relay that behavior to customers. So as a leader or decision maker in your company, it all starts with you. 

 

Be Honest, Always

The old adage, ‘honesty is the best policy’ applies to many fields, but perhaps none more so than the optical industry. Not only does it make our jobs much easier, but it establishes a foundation of trust between ourselves and our customers. And though it seems counterintuitive, when telling patients information that is challenging, they’ll appreciate us more for delivering the news straight, without any polishing. 

 

This can be applied to many different aspects of our business: giving realistic timetables for procedures, being upfront about the complications and dangers of different eye conditions they may be at risk for, even (politely) scolding them about not keeping up with proper home eye care — these seemingly difficult situations can actually be viewed as wonderful opportunities to set your practice apart from the rest. 

 

Stay Top of Mind

Optical patients vary greatly in their eye care needs — some pay a visit every few years, some seem to be stopping by the office monthly. But no matter how often (or not so often) they come by, they should remember your practice fondly. An easy way to do that is to send out email communications regularly, if not frequently. After all, you don’t want them unsubscribing out of annoyance. 

 

A once-in-a-while email or text message can go a long way towards fostering a positive relationship, and sending out a monthly newsletter that’s filled with interesting and eye-grabbing information can be an effective tool to keep them in the loop, and top of mind when they have eye care concerns or questions. You should also be regularly updating your social media profiles, and encourage them to interact with your pages. 

 

Open Ears & Open Minds

Try as we might, there will most likely be some areas that we are lacking in when it comes to customer satisfaction. But it’s always better to listen to your customers’ feedback even if it’s quite tough to hear, as it’s key to getting better in your own practice. You can do this by encouraging your customers to take part in an anonymous survey based on their experience at your establishment. Offer them discounts or other incentives to get them to take the survey, and welcome any constructive criticism they have. 

 

It can be difficult to see exactly which areas we need help with, but if you listen with an open mind, you’ll be able to see directly into those areas of improvement, making your business better than ever. 

 

Develop Your Brand

As eyecare professionals, we exist in between two different worlds. On one hand, we are healthcare experts that specialize in our clients’ vision. But on the other, we are retail sales professionals, service providers, and even a source of style and fashion. And though most providers in the medical field don’t need to learn and master the art of marketing, optical professionals surely do. 

 

And that’s where branding comes in. Establishing a memorable brand personality is a key ingredient to a successful customer retention strategy. Take the time to understand what your practice does well, find the true culture in your business, and figure out ways to highlight and showcase it to your customers. And don’t be afraid to be bold. Remember, the more recognizable you are, the more impactful you will be. 

 

I certainly hope these best practices will serve you well in fostering successful, long-term relationships with your customers. As one of the founders of Shamir Insight USA, I have spent the entirety of my career seeking to deliver truly personal service to every one of our clients, and it’s more than paid off. I hope you take these practices to heart, so that it may do so for your practice, too. 

 

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