The coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on the eye care industry. We saw one of the biggest unemployment rates of any industry with thousands of jobs lost, but now things are beginning to look up. Optometry and Ophthalmology practices are looking to develop strategies for rebooting their businesses. But how should you do it?
According to a recent article in Forbes, “the smart way is to reboot only the parts that can be successful. The world is never going to be the same as it was before COVID-19. Assess what’s changed temporarily, permanently, and fundamentally across customers, collaborators, capabilities, competitors, and conditions.”
By taking proactive steps, you can put your business in a better position to recover more quickly once the crisis is past:
- Evaluate how the epidemic has affected your patients. Your patients might be having some specific new problems related to coronavirus. Think strategically about how you can help them. Then adjust your marketing around how to address the challenges they face and reposition your services to be helpful.”This will require a reboot of your marketing/sales funnel,” says Forbes. “Everyone’s world has been reset. Everyone’s reevaluating their choices. Don’t assume your customers will come back automatically. Instead, rebuild awareness and then interest, so you’re in their consideration set when they desire a product or service like yours and turn that into action.”
- Drill deeper into patient bases that have served you well. This isn’t a good time to test new insurance plans or marketing schemes. Instead, use your time and resources to serve those patients who have been with your practice. Understand who your loyal patients are and deliver the services they need. It’s far cheaper and much more profitable to retain current patients than it is to find new ones.
- Seek out new ways to serve your patients. You may not be looking for new patients right now, but you can find alternative ways to serve your existing ones. Strengthen your inbound marketing practices by initiating more conversations on social media and targeting your message to the specific needs of your customers. Offer remote care services to solidify your relationship with existing patients.
- Prepare for pent-up demand. The post-coronavirus economic recovery might be faster than you expect. Many practices are already experiencing an exceptional rebound. If you cut back too far, you might not be positioned to capitalize on the recovery. It’s important to remember that profits have been driven down because practices were forced to close, not because they were doing poorly. Once they can begin to operate again, this pent up demand will need to be served.
- Invest in your team. Anxiety is likely very high. Consider adding incentives for a job well done. Examples: production bonuses, flexible work schedules, childcare assistance, wellness perks focused on physical and mental health, or other small gifts that will recognize your team for the extra effort and a job well done during this stressful time. Recognize top performers in your practice, and encourage them to continue leading the charge to recovery.