How do I...
Using communication to retain patients
Founder of Kirk & Kirk, Jason Kirk, shares advice on communicating effectively with your customers
Communication with your customers starts a long time before they enter your store, and should never end. The public is sophisticated and has access to so much information that they can walk through your practice door knowing a lot about you. Therefore, you must communicate what you and your store stands for before you meet face-to-face.
Be crystal clear
You need to know what your practice stands for. Sounds easy, right?
You need a clear and concise message that expresses your brand purpose and convinces the customer to spend their hard-earned money with you.
These days, practices that try to straddle different sections of the market generally struggle.
Is your practice about high-end, independent designer frames? Is it about your role in the community? Or is it about a specialist medical approach? You can decide, but you must make it crystal clear to the consumer and then get your message out there.
You need an active Instagram page in order to portray your story. You need a Facebook page in order to gather your community. And you need a website to share simple information
Your average high-spending customer is trawling through social media to find a retailer that suits them before they talk to you, so make sure you are visible.
You need an active Instagram page in order to portray your story. You need a Facebook page in order to gather your community. And you need a website to share simple information.
Maybe you need to advertise in places where your potential client is enjoying life – if you are targeting the creative community, advertise in the local theatre, for example. Whatever you do, talk to your audience in their environment in order to build their confidence.
Once a client has made the decision to come to your practice, the way that you communicate in-store leaves an irreversible impression. No aspect of your communication can be neglected.
The manner in which you talk to your client needs to be correct, but there are so many other ways that you are communicating your values. These include through the store environment, the way that you are dressed, the products that you present and the way that you present them, and, let’s not forget, the way that you listen to your client.
Listening between the lines shows your client that you care, and brings loyalty.
The way that you communicate in-store leaves an irreversible impression. No aspect of your communication can be neglected
After the transaction
When the transaction is over, the relationship is just beginning. If your service has been great and the products offered exceptional, then you are halfway there.
If you sell a mass market product, the next time a client goes to purchase a frame, there is no reason for them to come to you. They will simply price-shop. If you offer a unique frame, they will want to find out what your next unique product will be.
Stay in contact. Follow up with a personal call a few weeks after to see how they are getting on with their new glasses. Ask them to sign up to your mailing list and keep your mailings concise and relevant.
Stay in their world. They discovered you because your social media was visible, or your advertising was well-targeted. Maintain those levels and they will continue to see your brand and the next purchase will automatically be yours.
You know when you are getting it right because they will come back to you for their next frame before they need a next frame.
Trust is everything in this relationship. Transactions in independent eyewear stores are usually north of £500, so you cannot cut any corners. Give your customers an experience that they will remember, and they will communicate this for you to their network.