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Patients Creating Patients: How WTR Can Accelerate Practice Growth

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From comment cards to follow-up surveys, practice owners have been trying to find ways to benchmark their performance for years. Historically owners used patient return rate as a fairly reliable barometer of overall patient satisfaction; but in the era of Yelp and Google Reviews, good enough is no longer good enough. Patients now have more eye care options than ever, and exceeding patient expectations is critical to securing those coveted five-star reviews and protecting long-term customer loyalty.

Many modern practices—particularly those with more tech-savvy management—have wisely begun conducting ongoing, web-based follow up survey with their patients. By surveying continually and non-selectively rather than occasionally, owners and practice managers can quickly identify unusual drops in patient satisfaction and quickly course correct. However, surveys are tricky, and can be designed in in ways that lead respondents to desired responses, which can be gratifying to read but entirely unhelpful in revealing areas of opportunity. In addition to standard satisfaction scores for various segments of the patient journey (check-in, pre-test, exam, optical, etc.), one reliable and challenging metric for measuring overall practice success is known as WTR, or Willingness to Recommend.

WTR is a high bar, and a powerful marketing advantage. A satisfaction score will indicate which patients were wildly impressed or wildly disappointed; but most patients tend to gravitate towards measured, middle of the road responses. However, when a patient demonstrates a willingness, or even enthusiasm, for recommending your practice to friends and family, you can say with confidence that you exceeded that patient’s expectations. A patient with a high WTR is certain have a high likelihood of returning to you for their eye care needs. In addition that patient also has a high likelihood of sending you more patients!

Concentrating on symptomology and symptom relief is one of the best avenues for practices to dramatically improve their WTR scores. The symptoms of eye misalignment—including headaches and eye fatigue—have increased in severity during the pandemic for a large number of patients. In addition to the influence of heightened stress and anxiety, their visual demands are at an all-time high. When day-to-day coping becomes more difficult, patients look for products and services that provide relief. They want solutions to be effective, easy and ultimately lead to greater comfort.

As a proud Neurolens provider, I am continually amazed by the patient outcomes made possible by this technology. Based on over 800 responses from patients after wearing Neurolenses for 60 days, the average WTR for Neurolenses is an astonishing 86.5%. I have seen this impact firsthand after implementing the Neurolens system in my practice. Patients are thrilled with the results, which often prove to be dramatic, even life-changing for patients that really struggle with their symptoms. These strong WTR results for Neurolenses have a direct positive impact on Neurolens providers, with a steady stream of high-WTR patients leading to more and more new patients.

In fact, one of the smartest doctors I met implemented one simple but powerful process to build on this success. She consistently sent her own 60-day follow-up message to all of her Neurolens patients, encouraging them to leave her a Google Review and detail their experience with Neurolenses, and with her practice and staff. Her ratings accelerated almost overnight. Additionally, communicating patient WTR during staff meetings can be a huge motivator for the staff. I strongly believe that being transparent with your staff and associate doctors enables them to excel and helps create an ownership mentality.

Products with a big “wow” factor like Neurolenses can help move you to rarified levels of WTR. Pay a little attention to WTR and you will be amazed how it can impact your practice and your patient loyalty.

Happy prescribing.


Jennifer Zolman, O.D.

Jennifer Zolman, O.D.

Dr. Jennifer Smith Zolman obtained her Doctorate of Optometry at Nova Southeastern College of Optometry in 2006. She is a fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Dr. Zolman is President of the South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association (SCOPA) and an adjunct clinical professor for 5 different Colleges of Optometry.

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