CASE STUDY:Cloud-Based Software Helps VEI Grow and Manage Contact Business
Virginia Eye Institute (VEI), a seven-location, large ophthalmology-optometry practice, set out to improve their contact lens services to patients as a strategic growth initiative in early 2015. The practice identified contact lens ordering and delivery services to patients as areas that could be made more effective and give VEI a competitive advantage. At this time, VEI used the online contact lens ordering tools offered by its distributors, but the practice’s owners found these tools to be limited.
“Our staff had to place contact lens orders through the distributors’ ordering portal and then re-enter all of the order information into our practice management system,” said Mark A. Johnson, ABOC, NCLEC, director of optical services for VEI.
“On top of this inefficiency, we also were not getting order status updates, business analytics or marketing tools.
“We set out to find one solution that would make ordering easier for our opticians, while also enhancing practice revenue,” said Johnson.
In April 2015, VEI implemented CLX, a cloud-based contact lens ordering, managing and marketing system, in each of its seven offices. “It’s a more efficient system,” saID Johnson. “So, it saves time allowing our staff to do other things. It reduces the need for phone calls to distributors and to and from patients. There’s a cost of staff time associated with all those phone calls, and the cost of staff frustration.
“With CLX, we not only have access to the convenience of online contact lens ordering that the distributors’ systems offered, but it also streamlines our contact lens ordering process, improves our customer service by offering real-time order status updates, and gives us access to robust contact lens metrics and turn-key marketing solutions,” said Johnson.
“Before CLX, we couldn’t track orders so we were not able to tell patients if their order had shipped or how it had shipped,” said Johnson. “Now, with CLX, we can go in the system and get real-time order status updates for each order. This helps us better serve our patients and manage their expectations in regards to their contact lens orders.”
According to Johnson, about 65 percent of contact lens sales at VEI are annual supplies. “While we do have a strong annual supply percentage, before CLX, we were still potentially missing out on revenue from the other 35 percent of patients who would be due to reorder contacts within the next year. If those patients did not call in to reorder from us, those sales most likely went to an online retailer or a big box store.”
CLX’s My CL Reorder functionality allows VEI to send their patients automated emails and text messages when they are due to order another supply of contact lenses. These reminders contain a personalized order link, allowing them to simply click and place an order directly through VEI, making going to an online retailer to reorder less tempting.
The enhanced customer service, combined with the ability to better track and improve contact lens inventory and sales metrics, positions the practice well for the future.
“We’re all facing the prospect of decreased margins on contact lenses and increased competition. Because of this, we saw a need to make contact lens sales as efficient and patient-friendly as possible, and CLX has allowed us to do that,” said Johnson.
Article originally appeared in Vision Monday