LiveseySolar’s telephone training featured in Eurotimes March 2011:
A GOOD SERVICE. ESCRS Practice Development Masterclass attendee finds value in focusing on basics.
Rod Solar and LiveseySolar’s telephone training are featured in Eurotimes March 2011, which focused on the importance of marketing basics in practice development. The full article by Howard Larkin is below:
Going into the first ESCRS EuroTimes Practice Development Masterclass on entrepreneurship in September 2009, Arthur Cummings MB, ChB, MMed (Ophth), FCS(SA), FRCSEd, of Wellington Eye Clinic, Dublin, Ireland, and his clinic manager Ed Toland MBA were looking to expand a thriving refractive practice. One year later, facing a steep drop in demand for LASIK as Ireland and the rest of Europe plunged into recession, the clinic was looking for ways to cut costs while maintaining quality and improving service.
Nonetheless, the insights and strategic exercises that Masterclass course director Keith Willey MBA of London Business School presented proved invaluable in helping the practice navigate this unexpected shift, Dr Cummings says. “MBAs make you think outside the box. It helped us focus on what is controllable and what is not controllable. We can’t control the economy, and the number of people who will have LASIK will largely depend on the economy. What we can control is our cost. We can make better use of marketing and make better use of our time in the room with the patients.”
Mr Toland agrees that the Masterclass helped him take a step back and “work on the practice instead of in the practice.” He found particularly helpful Prof Willey’s insight that in differentiating a practice in the market, you can position yourself as primarily technology-driven, service-driven or pricedriven, but not more than one.
“The more I thought about it the more I thought it was a useful concept,” Mr Toland says. “We felt we were strong in all three, but that our marketing would be more effective if we picked one. As a premium supplier, we are not interested in focusing on price, so we focus on service and adding value.”
Service is what sets the clinic apart, Mr Toland explains. For example, while many visitors to the Wellington practice website frequently click on the website’s cost page, the clinic has made a conscious decision to focus on its level of service and intrinsic benefits of laser surgery to patients.
The service approach carries over to cataract surgery, Dr Cummings adds. “We approach cataract surgery as an elective procedure. The time to do it is when it affects that patient’s life.” He believes the clinic’s experience in meeting refractive patients’ demands for service and excellent outcomes, as well as its experience in guiding patients through the complex process of choosing a refractive option such as a multifocal lens or monovision, have helped it succeed as a premium provider in a tough market.
The value of training
The research presented by Rod Solar (of LiveseySolar, London, England) on effectively answering your phone and how much it can affect your marketing success stood out. I came home with two or three pages of ideas to implement.” – Ed Toland, Wellington Eye Clinic
Wellington also has focused on staff training and involving staff in making the practice more attractive to patients, Dr Cummings adds.
Mr. Toland, also found the ESCRS workshops on marketing helpful. “The research presented by Rod Solar (of LiveseySolar, London, England) on effectively answering your phone and how much it can affect your marketing success stood out. I came home with two or three pages of ideas to implement.” Dr. Cummings believes that all ophthamologists should participate in practice development programmes. “The economy is still under pressure and it will be difficult going for several years.