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When I was asked to write this article for odsonfb.com, I decided to conduct an experiment. I was curious which ODs on Facebook posts received the most “reactions” from members, so I scrolled through approximately 300 posts. You might assume on a social media group comprised primarily of eye care professionals that the greatest reactions would come from clinical posts discussing topics such as ocular pathology, clinical treatments and innovative diagnostic technology. You would be wrong. In fact, in most cases clinical posts garnered the least number of reactions. The greatest number of reactions came primarily from two categories, posts discussing common work-related frustrations and posts that injected humor or compassion. The two most popular posts (by far): A picture of a dog with heart-shaped eyes and an image of a digital eye chart that randomly displayed the letters O L D H O E.

A while back Facebook expanded the “Like” button to include a wider spectrum of emotional reactions to posts. The reactions are Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry/Annoyed. Every time a patient visits your office, they are mentally clicking one of these buttons. I will add another button to the patient experience: Indifference. Are you creating an experience worthy of an emotional reaction, and what reaction would it be?

I recently completed a book titled But I Don’t Sell: An Eye Care Professional’s Guide to Being More Persuasive, Influential and Successful. The first chapter is titled “The Role of Emotion in Sales”. Emotion, not logic, is what drives a lot of people to make decisions about you and your practice. Emotion inspires action. This can include whether to purchase from you or walk with a script, whether or not to leave a review, and whether to return to you the following year. Emotion, as research has proven, grabs our attention and plays a major role in most of our daily decisions.

If you want more Likes and Loves directed your way, add more of the following to the patient experience: empathy, humor, friendliness, trust and genuine concern for the patient’s well-being. As for Angry reactions, most the angry/annoyed reactions in my experiment came from posts discussing common frustrations that ODs have with patients. Many patients have their own frustrations as well about doctors: long wait times, rude staff, poor chairside manner and rigidly enforced policies. Both reactions get people’s attention but ask yourself what kind of attention you prefer.

Which buttons are your patients clicking?

Steve Vargo
Dr. Vargo serves as Optometric Practice Management Consultant for IDOC. A published author and speaker with more than 15 years clinical experience, he is now a full-time consultant advising O.D.s in all areas of practice management and office operations. He can be reached at svargo@idoc.net. His new book But I Don’t Sell is available here: https://amzn.to/2PSVnql

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