The optometry industry is always changing, and quickly. Customers are more and more demanding, and that means optical practices have to offer competitive prices and quality every day. To stay ahead of the competition and attract new customers, it’s important to find and implement new ways to grow your optical business.
To achieve this much-wanted growth, it’s essential to provide quality customer service. However, this takes dedication to trying new things, creating an effective strategy and getting the whole team on board, making them part of the business development process. What’s clear is that there are many things you can do to improve your customer acquisition rate and boost sales to potential customers.
This CECOP USA article will give you 10 strategies to help you noticeably grow your practice. Keep reading for more information.
10 practical ways to grow your optical business
Hanging on to your customer base is hard work, but growing it, and your practice, is even more difficult. Because optical practices have to build trust by taking advantage of the latest trends and focusing on the needs of their clientele. This is the only way to boost sales and push the practice forward.
So, how do you do this? What tactics should you use to grow and develop your practice over time? We’ll explain below.
Customer service for new needs
How optical practices serve their customers has changed. Offer extended opening hours on weekends and evenings. Try to make it possible for some walk-ins to get an eye exam without an appointment. Many of them will thank you for it.
And online services are another smart way to attract customers who are used to having access to any information they need 24 hours a day.
Expanding the services available on your website will give customers more reasons to come into your practice and make you more competitive in the market.
Invest in marketing
Marketing is one of the best ways to get customers and boost sales of optical products. This fuels business growth, so investing here is key.
There are many different options for your practice’s marketing. You can use direct mail, print or online advertising. Another alternative is word of mouth: asking satisfied customers to recommend you to their friends and family.
And don’t forget social media and a blog on your website. More than 75% of Facebook users and 60% of Instagram users check those platforms on a daily basis.
Just share a consistent, specific brand message and sales information!
Get involved in the community
This is one of the best ways to grow your practice. You can join the local chamber of commerce or take part in community events, like sponsoring local youth sports teams. Encourage your customers to post about their visit on social media. These are ways to get your name out there and help spread the word further afield.
It’s also a good idea to join professional organizations like the American Optometric Association. Joining this type of group will give you access to resources to stay up to date on all the latest in the sector, which will ensure your practice keeps growing.
Outshine the competition
Simple gestures and the little things make a big difference. To set yourself apart from the rest, put a thank you note in each glasses case or send each customer an email on their birthday.
Another great option is to encourage people to take care of their eyes by sending messages on days related to good eye health. World Sight Day and National Sunglasses Day are some good ones.
Treat your customers like friends and get to know them. With a solid relationship, you’ll give them better service. That will help you build a loyal customer base that will make it easier to boost sales.
Revive old relationships
Let’s be realistic: 100% customer retention is mission impossible. However, if you always offer good service, former customers will probably come back because they’re familiar with your brand and service.
So they don’t forget you’re there when they need you, why not send them an email inviting them to come back. To tempt them, offer an incentive like discounts or coupons. You’re sure to see them back at your practice soon!
Send out special deals for your current customers
Offer something small as an incentive. Tempt them into your practice with monthly promo emails. Plus, you can send interesting content, like: “Did you know there are eye diseases that are only detected in routine eye exams?” These messages are important to patients’ eye health and will encourage them to come in for an eye test.
The look of your practice and facilities
The display cases for your frames and the lighting in your store are key to catching people’s eye. Make sure to balance bright areas and shadows to create contrasts that highlight your top products.
Plus, if you haven’t already, make or add additional exam rooms, expand your optical dispensary or build a new office to sit down with customers and give quotes or pricing info. These services will help you reach your growth targets.
Hire new specialized staff
An eighth way to grow your practice is to hire new specialized staff, like optometrists, ophthalmologists or optometric technicians. Hiring new staff means you can serve more customers and give them a more personalized service. Plus, staff with updated skills will keep your optical practice moving.
If you want to boost your opportunities for selling your optical products, it is very important to have a staff that can multitask, interact with customers face to face and recognize each customer’s strengths and weaknesses.
Implement a management system
Using an electronic medical records system or adopting an efficient management approach will help you run your practice more efficiently and effectively.
Listen to your customers (positive or negative)
Online comments about your practice, both good and bad, are very important if you want to grow your business. Take the time to review each one and try to respond as quickly as possible.
For negative opinions, try to find where things went wrong and understand their experience. Any issues can be resolved, and you may get that person to come back as a customer after a while. And all because you paid attention to a simple online comment.
We hope this article is helpful. Remember, if you want to grow your optical practice, focus on customer-oriented solutions to boost the visibility of your shop and, as a result, your sales.