“Let the fear of being average push you to a status above the average fear. Refuse to accept mediocrity.” - Anonymous
If you’re an eye care professional, you probably aren’t satisfied with simply being “good enough” for your patients. You want to go beyond “good enough.” You want to exceed their expectations. You want to delight them. After all, a delighted patient is not only going to be more loyal to your eye care practice, he or she will potentially attract other patients to it as well.
So how do you go about delighting your patients? Each practice is different, but here are five simple tried-and-true methods to get you started. Keep in mind that these won’t work if it’s just you. Your entire team has to be on board.
1. Follow the Golden Rule
The first thing you want to do is create an experience that is centered on customer service. The Golden Rule is a great place to start: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Go above and beyond to meet your patients’ needs. Here’s how HubSpot puts it: “…help people and they’ll help you. If you can prove to your prospects that you’re trustworthy and effective when they’re not yet even paying, they’ll be much more likely to want to do business with your organization down the road. All that goodwill generated pre-sale goes a long way towards easily transforming customers into promoters post-sale.” For ECPs, this means treating patients with respect even if they don’t purchase lenses or frames after an exam.
2. Create an Unexpected Experience
Think about the last time you went to a restaurant. Was the service exceptional? How about the food? Did you tell anyone about it? If the experience was average, you probably didn’t even remember it. When people are pleasantly surprised by an experience, it’s more memorable and is more likely to be shared amongst friends. The same goes for eye care practices. If you go out of your way to meet the needs of your patients, they’ll remember it and share it. This word-of-mouth advertising is essential for attracting new patients to your practice.
3. Offer Thanks for Referrals
A practical way to delight your customers is going out of your way to thank them for things like referrals. While you shouldn’t promise them a gift ahead of time for referrals, you can send a thank you note, goody basket or gift card to patients that referred someone to your practice. Once a patient is rewarded for a referral, they’ll be delighted and more willing to refer your practice again in the future.
4. Encourage Reviews
In addition to referrals, it’s a good idea to pursue online reviews. You can even ask for them, especially if it’s a long-time patient or a patient vocal about having a positive experience. This is a good way to combat the inevitable negative reviews. (Side note: your reviews page won’t appear trustworthy if it only has positive reviews.) One good way to ask for reviews is by sending a thank you email with a patient survey or link to the review page at the end. You can even automate them with a marketing platform.
5. Do the Little Things Right
Even seemingly minute details can make an impact when it comes to delighting patients. Send a text greeting on their birthday. Email gift certificates during the holidays. Give anyone who purchased lenses or frames in the past year a coupon for a future purchase. Paying special attention to patients will make them want others to share in their experience.
In the end, delighting patients is all about giving them a positive, memorable experience. Go out of your way to ensure it; and it will pay off handsomely for your eye care practice in the long run.