What are your support policies? Can your patients conveniently reference them whenever they need to?
In order to keep up with changes in your patients, you should update your support policies annually. We've rounded up a few guidelines for excellent policies on purchases, exam rescheduling, and satisfaction that could help your practice keep up with modern changes.
How to Review Your Optometry Practice's Support Policies
Before examining your policies, you should find out what practices similar to yours are doing. They might have innovative techniques for displaying, enforcing, or writing their policies that could work for your practice.
Customer satisfaction usually stems from feeling supported and not rushed during the buying process. We encourage you to have a generous return policy if your practice can afford it. Many optometry practices encourage patients to return within 1 week of purchase to make adjustments to the fit of frames, raise any concerns about vision clarity, and insure their purchases are accurate. However, you can give the patient 30 days to return their product for dispensary credit for any reason listed in your policy. Your policy can stat that only faulty or incorrect orders can be returned for credit.
When it comes to optical products, customers need to give their eyes time to adjust to their new lenses. Therefore, having a generous time frame on your policies is the best way to go, but that shouldn't mean customers can overwhelm your staff with multiple adjustment requests and complaints just to get a refund.
Exam & Insurance
Transparency with your patients is key when it comes to performing the exam and collecting payment. Make sure your patients receive itemized receipts that show the routine exam, refraction exam, and any other costs. Then, your front desk staff should be pointing out which procedures are covered by their insurance before and after the exam. The best way to avoid complaints and confusion is through clear protocol surrounding insurance payments.
Your practice has a list of insurance providers that it accepts, so make sure this list is online anywhere that patients can request appointments. Patients will thank you for your honesty and respond well because you're making their job easier when it comes to choosing an eyecare provider.
Additionally, you can offer a discount to patients who pay in full during their visit, a special payment plan for patients with chronic illnesses, or other helpful payment policies that show you're flexible and willing to meet the patient halfway.
Although patients who turn up late may not agree, having a policy about late patients is crucial to providing a good patient experience. If you make it a policy to require patients to reschedule their appointments if they are more than 10 minutes late, it insures that your schedule stays on track so that the rest of your exams are not delayed.
Emphasize to your patients that a strict tardiness policy prevents your patients from having to wait because you're running behind schedule. You can also incentivize patients who show up for their appointments on time with a "loyalty card" that can lead to freebies or discounts.
As long as your patients feel you have policies in place to take care of them, reduce paperwork, and save them time, you're delivering the best service you can as an OD. In order to make sure your entire staff is on the same page when it comes to patient care, you'll need to have an optimized workflow in place.
If you're looking for more ways to provide excellent customer experience, check out our ebook on improving your workflow with optometry software.