Improving end-to-end customer experience
Patients’ experiences do not only happen when patients see their eye care provider. The end-to-end customer experience has many touchpoints and interactions between patients and eye care practices. These touchpoints and interactions are opportunities to enhance customers’ experiences and ultimately create a positive image for the practice. Here are some steps to improve patients’ experiences:
Giving the best eye care services and products
Selecting designer and economical eyeglasses, quality lenses, advanced medical equipment, having an optical lab on-premises, and all eye care services under one roof all contribute to a high-quality customer experience. When patients are greeted by a clean practice in which they can have all services they need without having to be referred somewhere else; it makes it easier for them to enjoy the eye care process.
For example, if a patient comes for an eye exam and the doctor is able to detect a minor retinal hole-thanks to the advanced technology and needs to be referred to an ophthalmologist for laser surgery it will save the patient precious time if an ophthalmologist is already on-premise. Patients often feel more comfortable knowing they do not have to re-explain their health history, preferences, and concerns at another practice. Another example would be a patient coming for an updated eyeglass exam because he/she broke her glasses besides the huge selection he/she can have a fast turnaround on a new pair of glasses all thanks to an integrated optical lab on-premise.
The choice of products and services offered by an eye care practice directly impact customer experience. Having as many options available with high-quality equipment will help reduce possible stress, anxiety, and any possible negative outcomes a patient can have. Investing in great products and services will help create a sustainable eye care practice.
Scheduling is the first point of engagement patients have with an eye care practice. During this touchpoint, it is important to minimize the wait time, to schedule the appointment, collect all necessary data to determine the urgency of the appointment, and adapt as much as possible to the patient’s date and time request. Having a representative to send appointment confirmations, instructions, and reminders are also very important to personalize patients’ experiences. If the scheduling process is well optimized, patients will feel their time is respected and the practice knows what they are doing. Which is the first step to create high-quality customer service.
When a patient comes to check in for a scheduled appointment or a walk-in visit, it is the first in-person touchpoint with the eye care provider. Patients will start developing their opinion based on how they are greeted, how the practice seems to be organized, and the atmosphere of the practice. If the staff is very friendly, the facility clean, and the process enjoyable, patients will start to create a positive opinion of the practice.
The doctor’s role
Once a patient has checked in he or she will ultimately have to see a doctor. The role of the doctor is to make the patients feel comfortable, listen, and address their concerns. For example, a patient can come for an annual eye exam and actively not say anything. If the doctor does not ask the right questions, we might not know that the patient actually has blurry vision or any other symptoms that can be related to underlying eye conditions. When doctors show they care about patients, empathize with their problems, it shows that the practice genuinely cares about the community.
If patients need a follow-up appointment, or another eye care service, it is always a good idea to make it personal. A practice can have dedicated staff to contact patients over the phone, ask them how they are feeling, give them care recommendations until the follow-up, ask them if they have any questions, and show them that the practice deeply cares about them and want them to feel happy, relaxed and cared for.
High-quality customer service
Providing high-quality customer service in eye care is an end-to-end process. Every employee of an eye care practice has to acknowledge and embrace his or her responsibility to provide great customer service. The goal of an eye care provider is to see patients as people and not only as numbers. When this happens, the staff becomes more empathetic, processes are improved to respect patients’ time, and the overall customer experience is optimized.