You look into their eyes, but you just don’t know what they could be thinking. You know that online glasses never fit right, that patients never order the right lenses for their condition, and they aren’t even saving that much money. Don’t they know that you have their best interest in mind when you ask to show them a pair of frames they might like, and recommend lenses?
The answer is simple: No! Patients assume that like all other retail stores you charge more than the online places since they pay no rent and sell in bulk. They think that you are out to make a profit at their expense, and that the reason you don’t bring up the online places is because you hope they don’t yet know how to ‘beat’ your prices.
So, let’s start dispelling some myths. First: online glasses are cheap. They might be able to beat your prices, but not by a significant margin. They may advertise ‘first pair free’ or ‘Affordable eyewear starting at $6.95’ – but there it is, starting at. That doesn’t reflect the final price, and though you know that, they have successfully hidden that fact from your patients. The good news? You can educate them as to how upcharges on coatings, etc. work, the importance of AR and polycarbonates, and what it means to the care of their eyes.
Be a physician. Talk to them about health and connect it to what they are spending. Paint the whole picture for them, and help them find the best solution for their physical and financial health, because that is what they are expecting from you, the medical professional.
How do you accomplish this? Be transparent. On every frame in your optique, there should be a price. On the wall, there should be a basic breakdown of types of lenses, coatings, rough costs where applicable, and what they do for optical health. You can guarantee that your patient will be looking at the prices at the online places, and without a number to compare to you can guarantee that, right or wrong, they’ll assume your prices are far higher. Ever heard the phrase “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it?” People have become afraid to ask in a world where the ‘fair’ (online) market price can be found instantly and anonymously.
It’s time for an uncomfortable conversation. During the checkup, ask them where they plan on buying their glasses, tell them what you have to offer, and make sure they know what your prices are, how they compare to online stores, and tell them exactly why you think they should buy from you. They will listen, but if you let this vital conversation go unspoken you can guarantee that they will assume the worst and leave to spend their money somewhere else.
Answer the questions before they come up. You can impact your patients lives, and your bottom line, but you have to be proactive and transparent. Change the way you provide care, and you can change your patient’s buying habits, to the benefit of you both.