The upgrade conversation
Optometrist, independent Hakim Group practice owner, and Johnson & Johnson professional affairs consultant, Faye McDearmid, shares advice on how the whole practice team can support the contact lens upgrade conversation and process
12 December 2023
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a mantra sometimes used in practice. When it comes to contact lenses, the practice team should consider if this will result in the patient wearing the most up to date technology, which best suits their ocular and lifestyle needs, or if could it perhaps leave them experiencing seven out of 10 satisfaction from their lenses, when they don’t know that they could experience 10 out of 10?
The upgrade conversation can begin before patients even set foot in your practice
Before they arriveThe upgrade conversation can begin before patients even set foot in your practice. Appointment reminder emails are a great place to include information on new products. Likewise, ensuring your website and social media channels promote new products can ensure your patients remain informed. Manufacturers typically provide advertising that can be used by independent practices for this purpose. Having a member of the team in charge of ensuring that your online presence is kept updated can really help with this.
In practiceIn practice, patient facing leaflets, mirror stickers, posters or videos provided by contact lens manufacturers can be used to inform patients about new products whilst they are waiting for their appointment or updating their spectacles.
To avoid patients having to wait until they are in the consulting room to ask about new products, it is important to ensure your front of house team can explain the key features of the contact lens portfolio on offer. A team training session can be useful to upskill staff, with the contact lens fitters (optometrists or contact lens opticians) sharing the key features of each product on the portfolio. Manufacturer websites are also a great place to get this information if needed.
Despite a good recommendation, it can be difficult for patients to really know what to expect with a new contact lens. It is therefore worth giving your patients the option of trying new contact lenses as they become available
FABWhen discussing contact lens options– or any vision correction option – with patients, a great recommendation starts with FAB. This mnemonic is: Features, Advantages, Benefits, and helps ensure patients’ feel like the recommendation is going to meet their needs in a personal way.
Begin by telling patients a feature of the product you are recommending, then explain the advantage this feature will provide and finally, make it personal by telling them the personal benefit it will bring. For example: ‘This new contact lens has advanced wetting technology (feature), helping to keep your contact lens hydrated throughout the day (advantage), meaning you can comfortably wear your lenses throughout your day in the office and on to the gym (benefit).’
The benefit should always be linked to what you know about the patient. For example, if they mentioned that they get frustrated not being able to see a menu without using reading spectacles, the benefit of multifocal contact lenses would be that they enable the patient to see the menu without the hassle of having to reach for their spectacles.
Despite a good recommendation, it can be difficult for patients to really know what to expect with a new contact lens. It is therefore worth giving your patients the option of trying new contact lenses as they become available.
The fit of a new contact lens can be checked at the end of a regular aftercare, and then the front of house team can follow-up with a phone call after a few days to see how your patient is getting on.
If the new contact lenses are a success, a review appointment can be booked as needed to enable a new prescription to be issued. The practice of regularly updating patients to the latest technologies can ensure we keep our patients happy in contact lenses and avoid silent drop out.
Faye’s top tips
- Ensure you are making patients aware of new products through numerous communication channels
- Make recommendations personal using FAB
- Give patients the opportunity to trial new lenses and breakdown price to cost per wear, making the value more relatable to day-to-day items.