How To Combat Digital Disruption in EyeCare
Disruption. I’m sure you’ve heard this buzzword before. “Disruption” seems to be popping up for all kinds of industries in recent years. The early ones that come to mind are companies like Uber changing the way people take taxis, and of course, the ultimate disruption of Amazon, changing the way people shop. Disruptors all have something in common. They offer their customers undeniable convenience mostly in the form of saving time and/or money by ordering services online via mobile phone or desktop computer. Buckle up because digital disruption for eye care is here, but don’t fret, with a little planning your practice can stay competitive.
What does digital disruption mean for eye care?
If we apply common features of disruption to eye care, we should be seeing online services that save people time and money by letting them skip in-person appointments and buy things online via their mobile devices. No surprises here, that is exactly what we are seeing. Big online retailers are popping up offering easy ways to order glasses and contact lenses, and even offering online eye exams right from their phones! This is what digital disruption looks like for eye care.
1800- Contacts offers to save time by skipping visits to the eye doctor:
Warby Parker offers people to try their frames on at home for free:
Hubble offers contact lenses delivered on a subscription to make them easier to afford.
How can independently owned eye care offices compete?
This is scary stuff, but there are a few things within your control to help retain patients. First, let’s see what tactics the disrupted companies have used to stay competitive. They have a couple tricks up their sleeve in the form of 1) brand loyalty, and 2) they have re-worked their user experience to revolve around convenience. Think about places like Target and Walmart offering online ordering with same day pick up with reserved front row parking where, in some cases, people don’t have to even get out of their car. This was not an option before Amazon started stealing their business. They already have the brand following, and now they have the convenience factor.
What does brand loyalty mean for my eye care practice?
Have you ever wondered what your brand is for your eye care practice? It’s more than just a logo and a name. Those are important parts, for sure, but your brand is really defined by the feelings your patients experience and attach to the name and logo. By intentionally deciding what your practice is going to be all about, you can take control of your brand with the ultimate goal of building patient loyalty. Are you going to be about having the highest fashion eyewear, or are you more about being the expert in a particular eye disorder? Once you decide what you want your practice to be known for, you can look at each patient-facing component and reinforce your brand.
- Website look & feel, and content
- Social media content
- Patient communication (texts, emails, phone calls)
- Office / retail space
- Office staff training & education
How can I make my practice more convenient for my patients?
The good news is that most of the online eye care services require an initial prescription by a doctor. If you have strong brand then you may just need to beef up your convenience factor to prevent patients from walking out with their prescription in hand. In large part, this means interacting with patients on their cell phones via text and providing easy purchasing options online and appointment booking. This is where it is important to invest in software services such as a patient communication platform and an e-commerce subscription services for contact lenses that are easy to order on mobile devices.
How should I choose software services to provide convenience to my patients?
Shameless plug, we offer both software services. Check out Prime Nexus, a state-of-the-art patient communication platform and LensFerry, a mobile commerce solution for contact lens patients. Click here to schedule a quick introduction to these services if you are interested in learning more about what we offer.
If you want to do some shopping around first, here are a few tips. In your patient communication platform look for things like patient chat (i.e. 2 way texting) and text appointment reminders. Bonus tip, watch out for extra fees charged by some companies that nickel and dime every added feature. With respect to contact lens ordering, we sometimes hear that offices already have an online ordering portal for contact lenses set up through their distributor, but usually it doesn’t get used that often. If this sounds familiar, I’d encourage you to go through the ordering process yourself and you may come to the understanding that if it’s not easy to use then people won’t use it, and it won’t count towards your convenience factor. Adding contact lens subscription options and text appointment reminders will not only be convenient for patients and provide some air cover for those big online retailers, they will also free up phone time for your staff making your whole operation more efficient.
A little background about EyeCare Prime, our technology was built by optometrists for optometrists. We pride ourselves on creating software services that help doctors grow their practice and keep contact lens sales in house, in this modern digital world. Our software is used by eye care groups as well as thousands of independent practices around the world. What are you waiting for? Say Hello to EyeCare Prime today!