OMAHA, Neb.—As business grew for Malbar Vision, a five-location practice in Omaha, Neb., challenges arose when it came to effectively managing its expanding contact lens business.
“We found that our old, piecemeal system for tracking our practice’s contact lens data was simply not working,” said Nikada Kent, FNAO, Malbar Vision’s lead contact lens technician. “With our old system, I wasn’t able to get sales numbers as a collaborative group of five offices, couldn’t track sales by individual staff member or by doctor and we couldn’t order contact lenses directly from our practice management system so, in 2014, we turned to CLX.”
The CLX System is a cloud-based software system designed to help practices more effectively order contact lenses, manage their business and market to their patients. Kent said implementing this system has added substantial benefits to the practice’s contact lens business.
“It gives us knowledge we didn’t have 10 years ago,” she said. “We knew what our patients’ needs were, but now this gives us the avenue to fulfill those needs, and to keep them in their contact lenses and satisfied with our services.”
Better Information, Better Training
After implementing the CLX System, Kent says Malbar Vision’s contact lens sales were now easily tracked across all five locations.
“The reporting aspects of CLX make it possible for me to track all of our contact lens technicians on sales of yearly supplies and single supplies, giving me a better idea of which of our locations are doing well in contact lens sales; and which most need my help,” said Kent who is charged with contact lens sales for all of the practice’s five locations.
As a result of the information Kent receives about the break-down of contact lens sales in each location, she is able to better deliver training to technicians who need more guidance on how to talk to patients about the benefits of selling annual supplies. “I re-trained some of our staff. Some of them were not familiar with how to sell a year’s supply, so some patients were walking out with the minimum, not realizing what was available to them with their insurance,” she said.
On the 15th of each month, Malbar Vision’s contact lens technicians at each location get a report on what percentage of their overall contact lens sales are annual supply sales, and, at the end of each month, they get the final numbers for the month. Each location is expected to generate a set percentage of annual supply sales in relation to overall contact lens sales.
“Because we’re now not only able to set specific goals but can actually track and follow through with them, our practice’s annual supply sales are regularly 40 percent above the national average,” said Kent.
Aside from annual supply sales, CLX also provides Malbar Vision with real-time reporting on modality fitting metrics and manufacturer fitting percentages, all broken down by office, doctor and team member.
Faster, More Efficient CL Order Processing
“CLX is able to provide all of these reporting tools because of its seamless integration with Compulink, our practice management system,” said Kent. “Prior to CLX, we’d have to enter all contact lens orders into Compulink and then enter them again when we ordered directly from our distributor. CLX is able to transmit all of our orders directly from Compulink to our distributors which has drastically reduced ordering time for my team.”
“All of our orders are pulled directly from Compulink and batched in CLX. When we have enough revenue orders to qualify for free shipping from our distributor, we simply click Submit. We then get order status updates and, in less than an hour, most of our orders are typically being processed or shipped. We can even see in CLX which orders are on back order,” explained Kent.
The efficiency of CLX’s order processing has also contributed to better a better customer experience for Malbar Vision’s patients. “CLX frees up my time to work with patients. I don’t have to worry about the next patient waiting while I work on a contact lens order,” she said.
A Big Picture Perspective Enables Better Patient Communication
In addition to ordering efficiency and detailed reporting, CLX also makes it possible for Malbar Vision to easily see how its sales and pricing compare to their online competition. That insight has spurred the practice to improve the way it markets its contact lenses and services to patients.
To better compete with often lower-cost online retailers, Malbar Vision realized it needed to communicate to patients the value they were getting in customer service when purchasing from them.
“We realized we needed to enlighten patients of everything they’re getting from us. We began explaining to patients everything they’re going to get by purchasing from us, that we’re going to make sure they’re covered for the year with all of their contact lens needs,” Kent said.
Malbar Vision’s contact lens marketing will be taken to the next level in 2017 when the practice begins using CLX’s marketing tools that automatically send patients e-mails or text messages when they have reached the end of their contact lens supply. For instance, if a patient last purchased a three-month supply, at the end of the three months, that patient will receive an e-mail and/or text message with a link to reorder new boxes.
“This CLX feature will allow us to offer convenience to our patients that rivals that of our biggest online competitors so we’re better able to compete and keep those contact lens reorders in-house,” said Kent.
“It will also help patients stay on schedule with their contact lens replacement, and remind them that maybe they should be changing their contacts a little more often, which ultimately helps maintain better eye health and fits nicely with our motto ‘The Difference is Clear, The Difference is Care,’” Kent concluded.