Have your cataract conversions been traveling in the slow lane, yet you think there’s nothing you can do to improve, ie, “It’s just our market,” “Our counselors are perfect,” and “We’ve tried it all”? On the contrary, I would venture to say that there isn’t a single practice that can’t improve or move into the fast lane—but it’s not without dedication and work.
Above all else, you can’t expect to boost conversions without being open to change. It all starts with knowing where you are and agreeing on where you want to go. Many practices I consult with with haven’t set firm, realistic benchmarks for where they want their conversion rates to reach. Those who have are moving through each day without communicating these expectations to the team tasked with achieving them. You can’t expect your team members to attain your target numbers if they are unaware of what they are working toward.
TRACK YOUR NUMBERS
I often hear, “We think/we feel we do well with conversions,” but once firm tracking protocols are implemented, physicians are often alarmed that they aren’t achieving the numbers they once thought. It’s essential to track these numbers daily, weekly, and monthly. If you aren’t tracking, you aren’t holding your practice accountable for the goals you have set, finding trends, looking for issues that need to be addressed, or highlighting staff that needs to be rewarded.
KNOW WHO IS SITTING IN YOUR OFFICE
It is imperative to understand the patient sitting in your lane before you can take any steps toward providing a sound recommendation for his or her vision. You have to uncover the answers to a number of questions, including:
• What’s this patient made of?
• What makes sense for this patient and his or her lifestyle?
• What is this patient hoping for?
You will never know the answer to these questions unless you ask.
A lot of practices have done away with the lifestyle questionnaire, mainly due to the fact they never used it. My recommendation? Bring it back, and USE it! This tool not only gives you an insight into a patient’s visual goals, but it also triggers the patient to begin thinking about his or her vision and how it pertains to his or her lifestyle. You have to look at the questionnaire and use the information. It’s almost a cheat sheet: You get to see what your patient is thinking before you even talk to him or her.
Next, simply talk to your patients! Find out what their goals are, what they like to do in their free time, what their passions are. We call these patient pearls, and they need to be passed along with the patient’s chart and paid attention from the front desk, to the tech, to the surgeon, and finally to the counselor and/or surgery scheduler.
THE SURGEON = THE DRIVER
This seems like the simplest step but is the number-one most important factor for improving conversions, and it comes down to the surgeon and his or her recommendation. Patients do not want to make medical decisions on their own; they want to clearly hear what the surgeon thinks is best. It’s important not to give too many options, as this only creates confusion and will significantly decrease the patient’s comfort and confidence. You must make a firm recommendation based on each patient’s needs and wants before the patient gets to the counselor or surgery scheduler.
STEER THE PATIENT
In health care, we all hate the big bad “s” word—selling. But, let’s be clear, we aren’t recommending you be in the business of forcing people into choosing an option that’s not right for them. We are in the business of helping patients understand their options and make a choice that will help them achieve their visual goals and that they will be happy with.
This also means your counselors and surgery schedulers must believe in the product, which is better vision for a better lifestyle. If you feel this is a hurdle in the process, simply have them sit through postop visits and let them listen to the happy stories of patients who feel they haven’t seen this well since they were teenagers. I’ve seen patients cry and even heard one sing! It’s a convincing experience and one that reminds us why we provide these premium options to our patients in the first place: They are life-changing.