,

My PRK Journey

 

At Matt Jensen Marketing, we use a wide range of creative tools during our design process, but there’s no tool more important to a designer than his or her vision.

Joel Jochim, graphic designer and beard wizard, relies on his vision throughout the design process to create great visual work for our clients. After a decade of wearing contacts and experiencing discomfort in recent years, Joel went to Vance Thompson Vision to see if they could help. He wanted to see if they had a laser vision correction option to help him reduce or eliminate his need for contacts (while preserving and protecting his vision). Through a series of diagnostics, Joel learned he was a candidate for Photorefractive Keratecomy, or PRK. We sat down to ask him about his experience:

 

Q: What went into the decision to get this process started?

Joel Jochim (JJ): I had been wearing contacts for more than ten years, and most of those years had been fine and without issue. Eventually, my eyes started feeling uncomfortable on a daily basis, which is when I realized I needed a change. I had my eyes checked out to see if anything was wrong and it turned out my contacts were irritating my eyes to the point that they were leaving scars on my cornea, and even could have effectively left me blind. After the doctors at Vance Thompson Vision discovered that, they decided the scarring was significant enough to have the PRK procedure versus a more common approach like LASIK.

Q: What was your experience like with the doctors at Vance Thompson Vision?

JJ: The staff at Vance Thompson Vision was extremely personable and helpful. They were the only ones to alert me to what was actually happening with my eyes and gave me a clear path forward to improve my vision. Beyond that, they educated me about the treatment that was right for my unique situation.

Q: What was your recovery like? How is your vision now?

JJ: PRK is more uncomfortable in the recovery phase when compared to LASIK. While the procedure is quick and painless, I still took it easy the first week, especially in bright light. That being said, after that first week my eyes cleared up and felt better than they had in years. Six months later, my eyes feel completely normal and I have better than 20/20 vision. I genuinely couldn’t be happier with my choice to have PRK.

Q: What is one aspect of your life that has been improved, besides your vision, after this procedure?

JJ: The doctors at Vance Thompson Vision and the PRK procedure have made it so I don’t have “bad eye days” anymore, which occurred often in my life before the surgery. Making plans no longer depends on whether my eyes will be irritated or not. Now, I see better than I ever did with glasses or contacts and don’t have to worry.

For questions about PRK, call and schedule a free consultation with Vance Thompson Vision.

, , , ,

Is Your Healthcare Practice Making These Digital Mistakes?

When running a successful healthcare practice in the digital age, most administrators focus on HIPAA regulations and strictly following them to keep patients’ PHI safe.

But there’s more to digital than what you can’t do online!

With the public face of your digital presence (website, social media and online listings), there’s a lot you can do to market your practice successfully (while still adhering to HIPAA).

We’d like to share five things many healthcare practices are missing or using incorrectly in their digital presence:

1. Have bad NAP?

  • NAP refers to “Name, Address and Phone Number”—the core to all online business information. These three data fields represent your business’s most valuable contact information.
  • When you originally set up your digital listings (social media, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.), you may not have listed your information consistently across all sites. The listing service may have also auto-generated a page by pulling information from your website.
  • When your NAP is inconsistent across the web, it creates SEO havoc. You may not be getting as high on Google or other search results pages, thus losing potential customers.
  • If your patients and clients are seeing your name or address inconsistently listed, it confuses them and erodes your brand.

2. Your site is abandoned (and sad)

  • Back in the “old days” of websites, most companies paid someone to put their brochure content online, thus building their first website…and never updating it until it was time for a new website. Luckily, websites are now easier to update with new, fresh content. It’s critical that you invest time and energy into regularly refreshing your site with new blog posts, updated doctor bios and videos, new staff listings, new services and other relevant information.
  • An abandoned site hurts your marketing efforts. When you don’t update your website frequently, search engines like Google think your site is stale and outdated which lowers it’s SEO ranking.
  • Tip: Use a content calendar to plan what you’ll post to the website, and plan to post at least a few times a month. Each time you post a blog, you create a new page on your site (and updated content for your customers).

3. Got link juice?

  • “Link juice” is what happens when you link to other sites from your site (outbound links to referring clinics, partners you work with or associations you belong to). It also accounts for links coming into your site (social media posts, online listings, partner clinics or associations you belong to, the local Chamber of Commerce or a board linking to your site).
  • Without inbound and outbound links, you can be disconnected online—floating around with no digital friends. Search engines like Google don’t like that because it makes you seem less trustworthy. Link juice shows them that you play nice with others, and that others find you relevant (like when a trusted site such as LinkedIn is linking to you 50 times—one for each blog post you’ve shared and linked back to your site). Link juice is great for SEO and will help your site get to the top page of search results.

4. Your site and social don’t match your marketing

  • Going hand-in-hand with an outdated site is a site that doesn’t match your business’ current marketing campaign. If you’ve updated your billboards, TV ads or other mass marketing messages, but your website doesn’t reflect or echo any of the current campaign, it will cause a disconnect between you and your audience.
  • This same rule goes for your social media accounts—you’ll want to match your current campaign on your Facebook cover image, especially if you have a direct offer or call to action you’d like people to take. Remember—if people see one thing in the media and another thing online, it can cause confusion, and confusion causes inaction!

5. Getting too fancy with “micro-sites”

  • Micro-sites originally seemed like a great solution to launching a new campaign or product without adding a new section to your primary website. A company would buy a new URL (web address) and build a completely new website for just one aspect of their business on this “micro-site,” then spend money to send traffic to it. This is actually detrimental to your overall user experience because it splits up your web traffic and trains your audience to go to a different website other than your primary site. Since most micro-sites were usually temporary, long-term benefits were never fully realized.
  • Don’t split hairs with your marketing. Keep everything on one site–your primary website. Then, interlink to areas you’d like your audience to see or use in-bound links directly to landing pages created for specific promotions. This will help keep your brand strong, your message clear, your SEO optimized, and your audience happy!

As a healthcare professional, you’re doing well to focus on keeping your patients’ PHI safe. But beyond HIPAA, more attention to your digital presence will strengthen your brand and allow your practice to take advantage of all the benefits of digital communication and marketing.

, , , , , ,

Once the Dust Settles: A Post-ASCRS Review

Recently, a few members of our team made the west coast trek to Los Angeles to participate in the annual spring ASCRS conference. The conference is an opportunity for ophthalmic professionals to learn, grow, and network with peers.

As attendees, we had a lot to take in, from the exhibit floor to the classroom. We had the opportunity to hear excellent doctors present on their life’s work and to see live surgery being performed with the industry’s newest technology.

Exciting new refractive technologies, such as SMILE from ZEISS, were available for education and hands-on learning. Healthcare regulation and reform were hot topics of conversation, as we all wait anxiously to see what emerges regarding MIPS and changes to the ACA. And, as always, we were all learning and hunting for new innovations in patient care, surgical offerings, and best practices in ophthalmology.

The biggest challenge for exhibitors at ASCRS is getting your product or offering to “cut through the noise.”

With hundreds of industry partners present on the convention floor, the biggest challenge for exhibitors at ASCRS is getting your product or offering to “cut through the noise” and reach new potential consumers.

So how do you set yourself up for success? How do you ensure that your product and your booth will stand out above all others?

Do it well

If you’re going to spend the money to be present at the conference, you need to do it well. How do we define “doing it well?” There are four key components:

  1. Focus on cohesive branding and materials.
  2. Offer pointed messaging that clearly outlines your value proposition and ideal customer.
  3. Have something “actionable” at your booth; something for visitors and customers to do immediately to improve their skill, practice, or thinking.
  4. Learn from your successes and mistakes. Audit every conference you attend and determine what worked and didn’t work from a booth presence perspective. Ask your loyal customers what they thought of your booth. Ask what others thought the best parts of ASCRS were this year. Learn, learn, learn.

If you “do it well,” you will shine at meetings like this.

PRN booth at ASCRS

As part of their presence at ASCRS 2017, PRN included a number of materials intended to educate their consumers and to show how their unique offerings stand up against competitors’ products.

Create space for conversation outside the exhibit hall

Some of the best conversations we saw happen at ASCRS happened outside of the exhibit hall and over a shared meal. Relationships and trust are built when real conversation is allowed to happen, and the best place to build relationships and trust is over dinner.

Relationships and trust are built when real conversation is allowed to happen, and the best place to build relationships and trust is over dinner.

Some options for holding these coinciding events include round tables or additional presentations. As you plan your event, create goals of the amount or type of feedback you hope to gain. In this way, you can measure the success of your event. Answers to these questions should affect your materials, your way-finding, your room set-up and your presentations.

Another exciting option at national events like ASCRS is to plan “experiential meetings” where you combine some form of learning or content sharing with a locally sourced experience. The goal of these events is that attendees would become actively immersed in your brand and product. For example, work with a local tour group to book a double-decker tour bus of the city. Before or after the event, offer some exciting new thoughts about your product or company. Because ASCRS has many vendors and meetings competing for the attention of doctors and staff, give people an added incentive to attend your experience.

Visiometrics booth at ASCRS

With these long standing banners, Visiometrics extended the visual impact of their booth’s presence. This modular approach also allows them to reuse those elements separately in other events.

Your booth layout matters

Depending on your product and presentation, the floor plan of your booth matters. In smaller booths, like a 10×10, the options are limited. However, there are still decisions to be made. Some questions you should ask yourself as you design the layout include:

  • What’s the one message you want people to see and understand?
  • Do you want a table separating you from your potential customers?
  • Do you need a private space to meet with interested buyers?
  • How does your floor plan affect your ability to draw in passersby?
  • What will people be able to stop and do at your booth?
  • How can your booth be unique and different from any other?

Answering these questions clearly before you begin working on your booth design will help ensure you create the ideal booth for your meeting goals, at ASCRS and beyond.

,

Herbalicious Potluck

Becoming gardeners

Though we tried, we simply couldn’t keep our office plants alive. That all changed with the addition of an office herb garden.

We recently received a hydroponic herb garden as a gift from Beth Jensen. The founder of Glean for Good, Beth aims to provide sustainable and homegrown food sources for Sioux Falls families.

Over the past few weeks, we have watched our little garden grow, and grow it did. Despite our far from expert care, our herbs are still alive. In fact, they even came to need a bit of a haircut. Our solution: we held an herbalicious potluck to make use of our harvest.

Our MJM team brought in gourmet creations to contribute to the meal, and we circled around one great table to share in our family dinner (which actually occurred at lunch).

If you also would like to host an herbalicious potluck, or if you are simply looking for herb inspiration, check out the recipes from our delicious feast.

Our herbalicious potluck spread

Brady’s Pork Carnitas

Kirstie’s Hot Gruyere Skillet Chicken Dip

Tim’s Dill Roasted Potatoes

Jackie’s Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Katie’s Thai Basil Chicken Kebabs (that weren’t kebabs)

Shannan’s Mint Cheesecake With a Chocolate Cookie Crust

Beth’s Dill Dip with Silken Tofu:
1 – 10.5 ounce Firm Silken Tofu
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dillweed
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Beau Monde Seasoning

Place all ingredients in a blender of food processor. Blend until smooth. Spoon the dip into a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Finding a family in herbs

This modest herb garden has somehow succeeded in bringing our team together in an unusual and charming way. Our herbs proved to be one more indication of how we are blooming as a team. We may not be gardeners, but we do have an herb garden. And a microwave.

,

Patient Experience Training

The amount of time a patient spends with a doctor is a small percentage of the time they actually spend in the office.  On average, patients spend about 7 minutes with the doctor. If a consult appointment is 2 hours, what do you do with the rest of that time? Doctors and other team members are central to properly harmonizing the patient experience.

The experience is the marketing and not the advertising.

The importance of hidden systems

It is important to develop hidden systems so you can engage everyone equally. A hidden system will enable you to know who a patient is and what they do without them having to tell you every time they are in front of you.

“50-80% of the information provided by the clinician is instantly forgotten. Of the balance of information that is remembered, only 50% of it is remembered correctly.” –Greg Korneluk, Physician Success Secrets

What a patient remembers

For patients, 25% is remembered at best post-meeting. We go into the office and we throw all of this information at them like driving distance astigmatism, presbyopia, etc. A patient could potentially leave feeling completely overwhelmed. That patient goes home and says all I know is that my insurance only covers part of it. It will cost $2,000 and I have stigma.

We have to remember that our jargon dissuades people from understanding what we are talking about. Over the course of that hour or so conversation, they are burdened with information, then we dilate them and make them sign stuff.

What can we do to make it better?

In his book, Secret Service, John DiJulius III says that Americans have 1/20th the human interactions we had just 20 years ago. Rather than shopping at a store, we are online. Instead of meeting in person, we are doing webinars, video calls, etc. Rather than going to a bank, we do mobile banking.

“We are serving people that are starved for human interactions.”

When people are coming in, they are expecting more than just a great refraction. They want to talk with you. They want you to ask them about their family life, etc.  And they haven’t had a chance to tell anyone that and you may be the only they can talk to. We owe it to people to do a better job of interaction because they want meaningful interactions.

People are paying for experiences—for those interactions. You can drop this into any business model as these are the foundational elements of how businesses have changed over time.

Progression of Economic Value

  • Commodities (Agrarian Economy), which turns into…
  • Goods (Industrial Economy), which turns into…
  • Services (Service Economy), which turns into…
  • Experiences (Experience Economy)—such as Starbucks

As much as you grow, what are you going to try and do at all times? You cannot be standard. You have to be unique.

So, what does this mean for doctors?

From a patient standpoint, they are concerned with the following:

  1. Was I treated well?
  2. Were they trustworthy?
  3. Were they organized?
  4. Did they say thank you?
  5. Was the doctor nice?
  6. Was the office clean?

The patient is saying, I care more about this than technology. Obviously, I care about outcomes as well, but I want these things also.

A patient expects that you will have the best technology and a pristine outcome–these are known commodities. It is the steps above that take you above and beyond and will be the reason a patient chooses one doctor over another.

How should our teams adapt?

John DiJulius nails mass customization in his book What’s the Secret, “With the amount of intel healthcare has on its customers, it should be the best experience on earth.”

By being in healthcare, we have more information on our customers than most organizations and we rarely use it. We need to use it!  “You cannot be experientially excellent until you are operationally excellent,” DiJulius says.

You don’t get credit for having warm cookies in your waiting area if the trash can in your public restroom is overflowing because someone hasn’t been in there for awhile. It’s the overall experience that a patient will remember. The entire experience from the front door to the checkout needs to be worth every penny.

Details are everything: From the minute a patient walks in, your staff members are on stage. Be personal and warm.  You want the experience to be so wonderful that rather than a family member just dropping off the patient, they also want to join in on the experience of having good conversation, eating warm cookies and drinking a customized, Starbucks-like coffee.

A lot of people won’t take the leap if they don’t know where they’ll land. The market already believes that you are the best around at what you do. I just know if you pay attention to these kinds of things it will be even better—it will be world-class.

, ,

Need a CLEAR Review and Plan for Your Business?

Strong, healthy businesses all focus on the same thing—how can we get better? Where are the gaps in our service, in the way people experience us, in the way we treat our loyal customers? What are our strengths, and how can we share them more boldly?

MJM can help your business CLEAR up your performance in these areas.

It’s called our CLEAR Method, and it can help your business or health care practice understand, at the core, what makes you different, strong and valuable to your customers and fix what’s stopping you from health and growth.

The CLEAR Method is made up of two parts. First, MJM conducts a CLEAR Review of your business, looking for strengths and weaknesses using our 21-point review tool. Second, MJM proposes a CLEAR Plan for focused, holistic growth and improvement in your business plan based on the results of the CLEAR Review.

But what is CLEAR? It’s our unique approach to looking at your business, top to bottom, operations to marketing. Before you spend a dime on advertisements, you need to get CLEAR.

CLEAR starts with a deep look at your Culture. Who are you, at the core? What are the values you and your team exhibit daily? Why do you exist?

Next, CLEAR looks at your Logistics. Are there gaps or weaknesses in the day-to-day logistics of your business? How are those gaps shaping the way people experience you? What items are top priorities to fix?

After Logistics, we study the Experience you provide your customers. How do people see, feel, and interact with your business from the first moment to the last moment? How can you and every member of your staff shape and design that experience?

Next, we look at the ways you generate Awareness for your business. More than just marketing, Awareness is a holistic review of all the ways people learn about your business, share information about you with friends, talk about you online, and the messages you pay to broadcast.

Finally, we conclude with a walk through your business Review metrics. How are you tracking your successes and failures? Do you have tools to measure your performance? If not, how can you tell if you’re succeeding?

The CLEAR Method involves hard work, both by you and by MJM. But the fruits of that work are powerful – they can lead to stability, health, and growth for your business. They will show you a plan to create happy staff, happy customers, and a more fulfilling CLEAR plan for your business.

If you’re ready to grow, if you’re not interested in “marketing secrets” and know that strong, stable businesses are built with long-term results in mind, the CLEAR Method may be a great fit for your business to jump-start 2017 with a new plan and a new focus.

To learn more about the CLEAR Method and to schedule your CLEAR Review, contact us.

, , ,

Mapping the Customer Experience

We often think of interactions with customers in terms of one key moment (usually the point of sale) rather than a narrative. In reality there are many moments, or touchpoints, that customers experience in anticipation of that interaction, during the interaction, and in recalling it afterwards. These moments reflect positively and negatively on your brand, and each moment is an opportunity to design more intentional experiences. We’ve created a worksheet that you can use to think through this process for your own company or organization. Download the worksheet here:

Graphic to download MJM Customer Experience Mapping exercise

How to use the Customer Experience Mapping worksheet

  • For each stage (Anticipate, Enter, Engage, Exit and Extend), brainstorm the touchpoints your customers experience.
  • Write these touchpoints on the cards below, and indicate whether the impression is positive or negative.
  • Cut out the cards along the dotted lines.
  • Assemble the cards in chronological order, and then move them up or down to indicate how positive or negative the experience was.
  • Identify key touchpoints that can be improved, and note touchpoints that have not been intentionally designed.

Let us know how it goes!

We hope you find this customer experience mapping exercise helpful, and we’d love to hear how you use it to create compelling experiences for your customers or clients. Contact us here or on Twitter or Facebook to tell us about your own experience design.

,

A Vitalizing Peel Experience

This summer, I took the plunge and had a Vitalize Peel at Artisan 57. Being in the chair myself (instead of observing or photographing the experience) gave me fresh perspective on several notions I had about aesthetics and why they were not true. It also gave me a glimpse at the subtle ways a customer experience can be elevated.

The appointment was quick and so simple. An Artisan applied two applications of three different chemicals over my face. When my skin began to tingle and I experienced a burning sensation, there was a cooling fan to help manage comfort. Throughout the appointment, the Artisan aesthetician helped me feel in control of what was happening by explaining the steps as we walked through them, allowing me to adjust the cooling fan, and answering any questions that this nervous first-timer had.

I left and returned to the office right after with the last chemical still applied. It gave my skin a slight yellow tint and I was instructed to wash it off at the end of the day. While my skin felt itchy immediately after, the sensation went away abruptly and I was ready for some peeling action.

The full effect of the peel took about a week (seven days) to manifest. It was fascinating to watch my skin be carefully agitated into healing itself. I was wrong about some things though.

4 misconceptions (and what I learned instead)

“25 is too young to need skin treatments.”

Who is the audience for most aesthetics centers? I naively assumed I had at least another 20 years before becoming the target market. But by that age, aesthetics clients want restorative treatments to undo years of damage. At this stage, I can push off wrinkles, spots and poor texture. Skin care is a workout now to avoid poor skin health later.

Artisan 57 focuses on education emphasizing prevention-oriented skin care. I learned that even at age 25, I am a great candidate for more than just their skin care product lines. Alone, I may not have considered a chemical peel, but after my skin consultation, the Artisans told me that it would fit well into a skin care treatment plan for my skin. They took the time to explain how and why it works so making the decision to follow their expert advice was simple for me, a now-educated client.

“All my skin problems will disappear after one treatment.”

I’m going to paraphrase Dr. Tendler’s intro to aesthetics presentation for this one: skin care is maintenance and there are no one-time fixes. That means someone who wants to lose their double chin may need several treatments of Kybella to get their perfect “after” face. Of course I wanted perfectly smooth, blemish-free skin after one chemical peel. What I got instead, was progress. Artisan 57 communicates this point at every conversation beginning with the initial skin consultation through the appointment to manage their clients’ expectations: this treatment is only one step in a larger plan.

“A peel is fine any time.”

Scheduling my vitalize peel took more thought than I imagined. 48 hours after a chemical peel, the top layer of skin often begins to slough off and looks like a bad sunburn for 2-5 days. This meant I wanted to avoid having it done within a week of any major life events, like getting married in July. I was already worried how losing a layer of skin would look sitting at my desk or out grocery shopping. Parmesan cheese jokes with my husband aside, no one even mentioned it!

After a peel, I also needed to avoid pools and lakes, too much sun exposure and vigorous exercise.* Because the Artisans took the time to explain the process ask extra questions about my life, they found a date for my peel that would give me the most success. Their attention to detail and understanding of the product goes beyond average reception desk duties. I planned the peel right after our honeymoon when I was not expecting any outdoor adventures thus avoiding any “Oh no, my skin is still flaking off” moments at my wedding.

“Skin health is about how I look.”

This was the biggest revelation I experienced along the way. Externally, my skin didn’t look all that different after my peel was complete. But the way my new skin felt was incredible! It was like a tiny burden being lifted from my cheeks, or like I hit a reset button on my skin. Both the experience of having a peel and the experience orchestrated by Artisan 57 made me feel empowered to recommend their product to other people.

Artisan 57 created a customer experience for me that felt tailored and empowering. Before I went in for the peel, they successfully educated me on their approach to skin care and how the vitalize peel works to manage my expectations and increase the probability that I saw the treatment as a success. They told me in short, “Based on what we saw in your skin consultation, a chemical peel will most likely give you good results. Want to give it a try?” and they handed me the steering wheel. Artisan 57 also carefully considered factors about their space that sets the tone: natural lighting, privacy, comfortable seating. Throughout the process, they quietly built a relationship with me. At this stage in our new relationship, I’m waiting for a call back with another great suggestion and chance to see them again.

*No, they weren’t kidding about the exercise one! I hit the gym before my skin completely healed and felt the burn in more than just my muscles—oops.

, , ,

The Importance of Branding in the Medical Practice

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

Branding in a Medical Context

How does this relate to a medical practice? Our patients today have access to more information than ever before to help them make a decision as to whom they choose for their medical procedure. There are markets and target audiences for everything but it’s your job as a medical practitioner to be crystal clear about the image for which you’re aiming and how that influences everything from services performed to pricing to patient experience.

Maria Ross, in Develop Your Brand Voice, Three Keys to Killer Messaging says, “The goal of the brand-building game is to get prospects to know, like and trust you so that when the need for your product or service arises – when they are most ready to buy – they think of you first.”

According to Laura Lake in What is Branding and How Important is it to Your Marketing Strategy?, the objectives that a good brand will achieve include:

  • Delivers the message clearly
  • Confirms your credibility
  • Connects your target prospects emotionally
  • Motivates the buyer
  • Concretes user loyalty

To succeed in branding you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. You do this by integrating your brand strategies through your company at every point of public contact.

Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions.

Branding and Social Media

How does social identity affect your brand? A patient’s first encounter with a physician is often through its online presence. 90% of 18 to 24 year olds surveyed said they would trust medical information shared by others on social media networks. 41% of patients said that social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital or medical facility. 60% of doctors say social media improves quality of care that patients receive. Providers should take advantage of the trust consumers have for them over other health companies.

Creating and establishing a brand takes time and effort. Maria Ross offers:

“Brand is a three-legged stool: It is conveyed visually, verbally and experientially. Visually is the easy part: your logo, your colors, your design, your packaging. Verbally is how you talk, what you say, and which messages you convey. For example, do you lead with price, or do you lead with value? Does your company speak in conservative, authoritarian tones, or are you more playful and whimsical in your copy? Ideally, your visual and verbal promises should align and lead to where the rubber hits the road: experience. In other words, once you’ve promised me the potential customer or client, something verbally and visually, does the experience match that promise?”

A Consistent Brand Builds Trust

Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Look to what you do know about the very essence of your practice and emulate that in a simple statement that can guide your brand in every aspect of your business. Be consistent and use that brand to define the visual image, verbal communication and the patient experience in all encounters.

If you fall short in maintaining the customer promise of your brand at any stage, the relationship and implied trust will be at risk. Instead, create the best possible experience for your patients and establish a long-lasting brand that will work for you.

, , ,

Ophthalmic Practice Strategic Drivers for 2016

In an ever-changing healthcare arena, what can we count on to drive business in 2016?

Let’s focus on seven areas we can grow new and returning patient visits to drive revenue. First and foremost we focus on the patient experience to build trust, confidence and evangelists for your brand.

1. Patient experience

Increased focus and development of the premium patient experience for elective surgery/refractive surgery patients.

Hopefully, we all measure patient satisfaction on a regular basis. But is this enough? What do we do to foster continued staff development as it relates to our patient experience? If you haven’t reviewed your patient experience cycle, it’s time to do it. Map each and every patient interaction, from your marketing materials, to the patient’s first call, first visit and each point of contact with your staff. Use this as a means to discuss how to deliver exceptional world-class patient experiences at every stage of the process.

2. Internal referrals

Tactics for generating referrals between various specialties, including eye exams, optical, LASIK, KAMRA and other services.

We should all be tracking referral sources so we know where our patients are coming from. The most valuable and cost effective source is word of mouth referral. Compare year over year reports for referral sources and look for opportunities to develop new relationships and build community awareness. Leverage cross referrals through patient newsletters, blogs and social media to keep services and procedures top of mind

3. Optometric referrals

Ongoing build-out of OD relationship tools.

Using your referral sources reporting, compare year over year revenues coming from optometric and professional referrals. Based on your results, look for opportunities to build relationships, offer continuing education, refresh print materials and communication methods (eg. newsletters; email blasts, etc.) and keep providers up to date on services.

4. Strategic consumer marketing

Updated strategies for ongoing community awareness/marketing communications.

Before embarking on a marketing plan for 2016, make sure you have a clear understanding of your goals and expectations for the year. If you’re looking for a 5% increase in elective procedures, that you expect to come from new procedures or technology, you need to quantify how many new leads that is, to convert to consults and then surgeries. This will help you plan your marketing efforts and target the audience you want to reach.

Once you know your volume goals, refine your message consistent with your brand identity and determine which media is the best combination to communicate your message. Don’t overlook social media, websites, review sites and custom video to help get your services in front of the consumer. Highly targeted campaigns can help reduce your cost per lead. In some markets radio, tv and print can still be highly effective

5. Digital marketing strategy refresh

In 2016, MJM recommends an increased focus and budget for digital initiatives to increase targeted awareness of practice offerings.

It may seem like a foreign language to some, but social media continues to grow and can be similar to word of mouth referral in younger age groups. We also can’t overlook that the 55+ market is the fastest growing demographic on Facebook. The added benefit is being able to carefully target, or in some cases retarget, individuals interested in our services. With Google retargeting, you can place ads that will show up when someone who has previously been to your website searches on other topics. You know they are interested in vision care and can keep your message in front of that particular consumer.

Email marketing continues to provide opportunities to send patient newsletters and updates on new products/procedures to our patient base. If you are not currently collecting all patient’s emails and asking their permission to contact them, you should start now.

6. Increased patient word-of-mouth

Create ongoing communication mechanisms with current patients, ODs, and staff that equip them to share practice offerings with others.

In the review generation, there’s not a product or service that can’t be found on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo, Angie’s List or some review site. While many of these charge for their service or make it difficult for patients to leave a review, we recommend everyone have a presence on Google+, Yelp, Facebook and Yahoo. How do you grow reviews on these sites? Patients are often thrilled with the results of their procedures and vision treatments and are happy to share their experience with others. At the post-operative visit, when you have an ecstatic patient, all you need to do is say, “If you’re happy with your results, the greatest compliment you can give is to share your experience with others.”  Then hand them a card with the review sites that you’re on, and explain how they can write a review.

Make sure you have someone dedicated on your staff to report on reviews and be ready to respond if someone does not provide a favorable review. It’s better to know what people are saying about you and give you the chance to respond or correct a problem, than to have negative word of mouth in your marketplace.

7. Follow-up actions for patients who did not schedule

You can only improve on what you measure. It is important to report on conversion of leads to appointments and appointments to surgeries. This can help identify issues within your processes or show what you are doing really well. Once you report on conversion, you can reach out to patients who did not move forward to surgery and help them make an informed decision. The key is uncovering obstacles and seeing how we can eliminate them as a concern. Often data can provide reassurance when fear holds someone back from surgery and financing options can eliminate cost barriers.

If you’re not doing everything you can to build your business in 2016, you’ll likely be affected by reduced reimbursements and fewer elective procedures. Contact MJM to see how we can help partner to manage your way to a successful New Year!