Ophthalmology is a form of artistry. Every eye we see is a masterpiece. When we look at the grooves in the iris or see the distinct hue of the retina and its network of blood vessels, it is hard not to appreciate the beauty in the complexity of the eye. Even cataracts can be beautiful to encounter. (Have you seen a Christmas tree cataract lately?) Our work as artists in ophthalmology means that we work to create vision that people are excited to experience and showcase.
It is no wonder then that people do not walk into our eye practices expecting us to offer facials or chemical peels. They expect vision care. They expect eye charts and tests. They care about how they see the world—not necessarily how the world sees them.
Within that statement, however, rests your practice’s opportunity to add aesthetic offerings. For patients who have been referred to your practice for an upper eyelid blepharoplasty or for any patient with visually disruptive droopy eyelids, we know that removing excess skin around the eye will not only improve the patient’s visual field but will also transform the appearance of his or her face.
In other words, a blepharoplasty transforms how your patient sees the world and how the world sees your patient. This connection between the beauty of seeing and of being seen is what drove the addition of aesthetic services to our ophthalmic practice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We care about how the world sees our blepharoplasty patients, and we have embraced the opportunity to extend this caring to the entirety of the patient’s face and neck.
Vance Thompson Vision is dedicated to vision correction, and Artisan 57, which operates in association with Vance Thompson Vision, is dedicated to aesthetics.
START WITH WHY
When you consider adding aesthetics to your practice, consider first why you want to attract aesthetics customers. Ultimately, if you cannot dream up a better reason to add aesthetics to your practice than additional profit, your clients may find their money more purposefully spent elsewhere.
As noted in Simon Sinek’s influential TED talk addressing how great leaders inspire action, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” If you have not already become familiar with this presentation, it is time that you check it out online.
Learn how to help patients look their best
As you think about and discover the reason why adding aesthetics can be a meaningful complement to your vision practice, work on surrounding yourself with people who feel passionate about providing excellent aesthetic services and who have the same “why” as a driving foundation. You will want a manager dedicated solely to the aesthetic practice, aestheticians who are knowledgeable and personable, and competent assistants. Facilitating a staff team that feels inspired and empowered to work every day is vital to the success of your practice.
As you align your staff team with your vision of adding aesthetic offerings, also work to establish a complementary alignment between the customer experience for clients in your vision track and those in your aesthetics track.
What experience are you facilitating for your clients? What system do you have in place to improve the client experience as customer service defects are discovered? Positive experiences in your office will determine whether or not your client returns for additional treatments and whether or not he talks about his experience positively with friends. You want your clients to refer friends and family to your practice organically. Working to create remarkable client experiences in your office will help.
The blueprint of your building determines how clients initially experience your office when they walk through the door for an appointment. The space that Artisan 57 occupies in the Vance Thompson Vision building is separate from the waiting area for vision correction patients. The colors are different. The personality is different. However, the client experience is complementary to what our vision center offers.
When aesthetics clients enter our office, they are greeted warmly with a variety of simple comforts like specialty coffee drinks, fresh fruit, and cookies. Our team makes sure that clients are as comfortable as possible throughout their experience. We select a preferential radio station on Pandora for every room the patient enters on their aesthetics journey. We love opportunities to surprise and delight our customers, and our customers reward us with referrals and return visits.
Although we plan and script our customer experience from the initial phone call, we know that we need to identify gaps in our process and work to close them. Our aesthetics and vision teams meet every morning, and this alignment enables the teams to troubleshoot customer experience concerns with our doctors and find solutions.
Every consultation at our aesthetic practice is complimentary, because it is important to our “why” that our clients be aware of the health of their skin and have the opportunity to monitor the progress of chosen treatments. This also allows our team to track the progress of each client’s skin and suggest treatment or product changes accordingly.
We care that our products and services work well for the client’s desired outcome. For this reason, products that we recommend for our clients are medical grade and have been studied to show that they help users on a cellular level. When a blepharoplasty patient wants to reduce scarring, we want to be able to serve him or her with that opportunity, and a specialized cream might be the best solution. Caring for your client and caring about the quality of products and services your aesthetic program offers must go hand in hand.
EXTENDING THE EXPERIENCE
Adding aesthetic care to your office creates the opportunity for patients to experience your practice in a new light.
Creating excitement for a new aesthetics offering can stem from the type of experience your clinic offers. We designed our lobby in a way that facilitates an open waiting area so that patients feel comfortable and also provides an elegant space for events. Artisan 57 hosts educational parties that give clients the opportunity to gain credit for services and to share the experience with their friends. Wine and hors d’oeuvres are complimentary, and our guests enjoy learning about the connection between a practice that improves how people see the world but also how the world sees them.
Adding aesthetics to your practice allows you to interact with your clients in new and exciting ways. Working with the right people is helpful; honing your practice’s “why” is essential. Only then can you facilitate a client experience that can surprise and delight.
If your vision for your practice includes changing lives through sight, and if your practice already accommodates blepharoplasty patients, aesthetics might be an opportunity worth investigating—your opportunity to transform how the world sees your clients. n
Matt Jensen, MBA
• CEO of Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
• certified Experience Economy expert and regular lecturer on Customers’ experiences in health care
• (605) 371-7120; firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Tendler, MD
• ophthalmologist at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, specializing in refractive surgery and oculoplastics
• cofounder of Artisan 57: Skin and Laser Center