The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in more upending ways than anyone could’ve imagined. Over halfway through the year, we’ve seen case numbers rise and fall alongside stock prices, amidst widespread uncertainty on the long-term effects on both the economy and the very way we conduct business.
This means facing the complicated reality of awaiting go-aheads, making sense of regulations from the government, and implementing policies and guidelines that adhere to WHO protocols. What that looks like varies widely depending on location, but bringing patients back into your practices will prove a unique kind of challenge. The eye care landscape is rapidly transforming, and it is of utmost importance that your patients are made aware and comfortable with the change.
So You’re Reopening…
In terms of reopening your practice, there first and foremost must be a direct line of communication between you and your patients. Typical emotions are heightened during these unprecedented times. As a trusted caregiver to your patients and their families, it is your responsibility to keep them feeling even more safe and comfortable in your office than before the pandemic.
We are continually being presented with information to add to the repertoire of what we know about COVID-19, and the overload can get overwhelming. More than ever, this means that your practice should cultivate appropriate, concise, and authentic responses to new data as it’s being presented.
At its core, continued transparency between a practice and its patients is the most critical factor in maintaining trust. It is the sole feeling that will make patients want to refer your services to their family and friends, expand the reach of your practice, and root yourself deeper in your community.
Make It Obvious
Any COVID-19 related updates should be distinctly outlined on your website homepage. Expectations that patients need to be aware of ahead of their future consults and appointments should be made exceedingly clear so that a sense of normalcy can be maintained to the furthest extent possible.
If your availability has changed, update your hours on Google My Business, and make the update widely available on your website for minimal confusion.
Go the extra mile – include a complete outline of the changed policies! Your patients’ safety is your number one priority, so don’t hesitate to make your changes prominent and easily accessible.
Listen to Your Patients
Be open to your patients’ feedback on guidelines and practices that are newly implemented; they allow valuable insight into where you can improve your adaptations. It also shows that you are willing to listen to what your customers tell you, ideally translating their observations into tangible protocols.
A great strategy to implement, highlighting your practice’s willingness to adopt better policies, is having your customers fill out a COVID-specific feedback survey after their visit. Give them an anonymous space to share comments or concerns to improve the way you care for your patients in this new normal.
COVID-19 has given business owners a unique opportunity to set the standard for what a thriving eye care practice looks like in the age of COVID-19. Those that take meaningful steps to address their patients’ concerns will pull ahead in the game, reaping benefits for years to come.
You must keep your patients updated on how your practice plans on moving forward through the adversity of the pandemic, through:
- Clear updates in the spirit of transparency
- Easily accessible information on new practices
- Providing space for feedback and critique from your patients
At the end of the day, it is in your best interest as an eye care professional to provide security and peace of mind to those choosing your services.