Looking to increase sales of the eye care products and services your practice offers? If so, don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to make big, sweeping changes to see an increase in your bottom line. There are a number of small changes and tweaks that every staff member in your practice—from the front desk to physicians—can make to your sales cycle that will help achieve sustainable growth.
A Word on Techs
In this series of posts, we’ve discussed the roles of front desk staffers and the patient coordinator in your sales cycle. Today, we’ll discuss the role of your techs and physicians.
Your techs are an important part of the sales cycle because they get face-time with patients before the physician does. This is a crucial period of time because they can educate patients on your practice, physicians, and procedures, all while working up patients and moving them along in their visit. Techs can also gather medical history information about patients and discuss possible treatment options (although a tech should never mention a diagnosis to a patient).
Again, only physicians make formal medical recommendations, but techs have an opportunity to tell patients about the variety of procedures that may work for them. Your tech might say, “Dr. Smith can tell you which procedure is right for you, but our cataract patients have had great outcomes with x, y, z surgery.” If a practice does not have a formal patient coordinator, “techs can partially play that role,” notes Ed Syring III, Vice President of Miami-based healthcare marketing and consulting company Yellow Telescope, who conducted a session at the 2017 ASCRS·ASOA Annual Meeting.
What About Physicians?
There’s some debate in the eye care space about whether physicians should discuss money with patients. Syring’s stance on this is a resounding ‘no!’ “Docs never want to come across as someone who’s just trying to make money off of their patients. They tend to feel guilty about charging too much for their services, so they’re terrible about protecting their own fees. That’s why having a patient coordinator is so important,” he says. Physicians should only handle clinical objections, such as length of recovery time or side effects. A patient coordinator or front desk staff should handle the cost objections.
The other part of a physicians’ role in increasing sales? Empower the staff members who do handle pricing so that patients feel comfortable with spending money on your practice. If patients raise cost objections to the physician, Syring recommends that physicians respond with something along these lines:
“While I don’t have anything to do with the cost, if you were my mother/brother/relative, I would absolutely perform this procedure with the multi-focal lens. We can do a standard procedure, but with that said, if we can help you make it happen, the multi-focal is the strongest approach. Susie, our patient coordinator (or analogous staff member) is great. She’ll go through the details with you.”
Physicians should put their patient coordinator and other staff members who handle patient payments on a pedestal, Syring recommends. “Put them on a pedestal as patient experts. They have the ability to get patients the resources they need to make a decision.”