We are living in a new reality. The following article explores how you can shift your vision to strengthen your competitive edge and connect with your patients during turbulent times. Our goal is to set you up for success with tangible tools and examples to use in your own practice, focusing on content design.
However, in our new reality, practices all over the world are now investing in online service and digital marketing. The ability to connect with patients online is becoming increasingly key to developing a sustainable business over the long term.
The level of digital presence can vary per practice, from having opening hours listed on Google, to full new digital experiences. The challenge is not just to stand-out, but to pivot, innovate and transform. This transformation can sound like a big change, but in essence it is working with the expertise you already have, and transforming it to benefit your patient.
But how to start your communications in this new space? How to increase in-store visits? In this article we explore the basics of behavioural design by Dr. Fogg; covering some core principles you can use and apply on all your future communications both in and out of store.
A New Vision
We usually create content with a reason - for example for patients to visit your practice in the next month. However, not all customers will come to your store when you ask them to, simply because there is no need, or because it is too much effort. But how DO you get them to your store?
By designing content that is right for your audience you can consider the basic model of behavioural psychology; does a patient need to be reminded to come to your store? What is the motivation to come to your store? And is it easy or hard for the patient to get to your store? There are 3 aspects to consider : (1) Prompts /triggers, (2) Motivation and (3) Ability.
1. Prompts / Triggers
The first part of moving people is to create a ‘trigger’ that asks them to perform a certain behaviour or reminds them to do so. You can create a prompt in different ways; from creating curiosity, to underpinning an exceptional benefit, to asking them a question to remind them of an unfinished task. A prompt needs to be designed to encourage direct behaviour and should be designed in a simple, short, recognizable way.
Motivation determines how likely someone will perform a task - such as visiting your store to have their eyes checked, a frame repair, or buying a new pair of glasses. Motivation has everything to do with our inner drive to do something and has a few basic factors at its base; Joy & Pain, Hope & Fear and Social Acceptance and Rejection. In the optical world the motivations of patients lie mostly in the Joy & Pain area; we want to increase our joys in life, and reduce any form of pain or uncomfortableness. Motivation increases when you show people the future benefits, applicable to basic needs such as the gift of vision and its effects.
Ability determines how well someone is able to perform a task. Sometimes people are very motivated to perform a task, but decide to not pursue it in the end. If it seems difficult, we try to avoid it. Ways to increase ability are: shorten the physical effort to perform the task, reduce the mental effort of understanding something, ask for less time, keep to old habits and keep in mind the financial factor of an action.
Implementing your vision
Remind your customers to come visit you by calling them or sending an email with content that is relevant to them. For example:
- Create curiosity by inviting them to check out a new collection, or your store redesign, or an event.
- Underpin the scarcity of a service or limited collection
- Simply ask them to come visit you
- Remind your customers of their annual check ups, or remind them to bring in their frames for a repair moment
- Make it short, simple and recognizable
The best way to get people in store, is to build upon the motivation they already encounter such as the joy of buying a new frame for fashion purposes, or increasing comfort by buying BlueControl coatings for people now working from home more often. You can help increase motivation by specifically communicating those direct pains and joys, that people can relate to.
- Content can be centered around pains: such as dry eyes, tiredness or headaches, or the joys in peoples’ lives such as the ability to see better, to add a new frame to their collection, to see the horizon afresh
- Makes sure your motivation highlights the future benefits and appeals to the basic needs or overall health of a patient
Your patients are now more fearful to enter or travel to a store, decreasing their ability to come and visit you. It is important that you therefore inspire trust in the business and confidence in safety measures.
- Create solutions that decrease physical effort. Consider whether you are able to move certain parts of your current patient journey online. Or whether you can move actions to the home of the patient.
- Reduce the mental effort by clearly explaining to clients how you have adjusted your practice to meet their current needs. The less thinking they have to do, the better.
- Don’t change the way you have been doing business in the past too drastically; your patients are creatures of habit. If things have changed, clearly explain why they did and how it benefits them.
- Take less time - going to visit a practice might feel like an undertaking - make the appointment as fast as possible.
- Be sensitive towards your patients’ financial situation. Especially in current times, a new customer emerges; one that is financially constrained. Regular patients are now more selective in how they spend their money. Talk to them and try to find solutions together to minimise their concerns.
In short, creating content and engaging with your patient base requires continuous thinking and planning. HOYA will provide you with ongoing content to use and re-purpose - from digital tool solutions, to campaigns and a host of other materials. But the key is talking to your patients and understanding what their motivations, triggers and abilities are. In this way you will continue to build a safer, stronger vision for them, now and into the future.
Wouters, B. Groen, J (2020) Online Invloed - Zo pas je bewezen gedragspsychologie toe voor betere online resultaten. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2W4Kab7
Morgan, B (2020, April) Customer Experience Mindset In A Post COVID-19 World: An Infographic. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2ZghaiU
KPMG International (2020, June) Consumers and the new reality. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/2O8mE8S