I’m pretty sure most practitioners know something about lens packages. You’ve heard the current wisdom; a colleague or consultant may have recommended them as being more profitable. They are definitely one of my top 10 choices for helping a practice improve their KPIs and generate more revenue in their eyewear sales. However, I estimate that well over half of the practices I work with every day don’t sell lens packages. They list concerns about over-complicating sales or insurance billing, or a lack of confidence on getting the products set up correctly in the practice EHR. To speak plainly, those concerns are minor, compared to the potential payoff in revenue and patient outcomes that’s available by bundling lens products.
What’s in a Package?
Creating packages for your lens products is not complex. Essentially, you’re creating a product grouping that includes a lens purchase, any material upgrades, and appropriate treatments. The package is created in your EHR, with an appropriate description, so the patient will be able to visually identify everything that was included in the purchase. The “package” then becomes a simple product that is sold as one unit, at one price. Your packages may include anti-reflective coatings, blue light treatments, photochromic, “thin and light” options, and so on.
Create Multiple Packages
Your patients are not made with a cookie cutter, so your lens packages can’t be entirely one-size-fits-all either. Get together with your optical pro (or your lab rep) and come up with a couple of package bundles that will suit your primary patient needs, like ‘standard,’ office lenses, outdoor activities / sunwear lenses, and kids. That way you have a simplified menu of ready-to-go options that will allow your staff to offer the best options to your patients in an efficient and effective manner.
Leverage Your Vendor Advantages
Don’t forget to check in with your vendor. You’re building a short list of preferred products that your practice is going to sell more of – potentially a lot more. It’s a good time to ask your lab what incentives or discounts you could leverage based on your product decisions. It goes without saying that you can’t make pricing or discounts the only factor, but don’t miss out on any available incentives for suitable products. It all goes into the decision-making mix.
Getting Set Up
It’s not hard to create packages in your system. Your EHR provider has probably addressed this need already, as it’s in high demand. If you’re not sure how to do it in your specific system, then reach out to your customer service / support team and ask. They’ll know how to best advise you. Here are a few tips we give our users to help them easily identify packages and make sure their analytics software interprets their data well:
- Packages should only be set up as lens packages which do not include a frame.
- The lens packages should have a V-code for the lens type (single vision, bifocal, trifocal, progressive)
- Name your packages descriptively, so they can be easily identified by your staff, and include key words or abbreviations like Poly, PremAR, SV, etc.
Here are a few examples of typical package setups from one of our demo accounts, that shows how the practice has the items set up so that their staff (and their analytics) can read the necessary information easily.
What About Billing?
Sometimes I hear a client say they are concerned that creating packages will over-complicate the insurance billing. Typically, there are no extra steps in insurance billing. Yes, your biller will have to break out the items and bill each of them separately, but they already have to do that when those products are sold singly. They’ll just have to do it more often, because you’ll be selling more products more frequently – and that’s a good problem to have.
Simplify and Streamline
Once your set up is complete, and your packages are in place, a couple of things will happen for your staff and patients. First, the conversations they need to have about products and product choices are going to be greatly simplified. Your opticians and dispensary staff should (obviously) still be conversant with the product benefits and able to explain them when necessary, but they will no longer need to explain why your patient needs all of these things, in order to convince them to order them. They can simply present the lens as “these things are included with this lens and this price.” Think about how much easier it is to say “we’ll go ahead and order the Thin and Light package, so you’ll have a nice comfortable pair of glasses that isn’t too heavy. It includes everything you need to get that sharp, comfortable vision the doctor prescribed for you.” So much easier – and faster – than explaining the relative benefits and pricing of Trivex, high-index and mid-index materials.
The process of writing up your orders will also be greatly simplified and sped up. And nobody will have to worry about handwritten options cluttering up your practice reporting. Your optical staff will have more time free to assist patients, and they will also be able to help move patients through the dispensary more quickly. Everybody wins.
Implementing packaging like this will improve your profit-indicators. Those are the cornerstone KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that generally indicate a healthy, profitable optical practice, like Anti-Reflective coatings, photochromics, and progressive lenses. One of the most successful practices I work with has an AR rate over 98%. When I asked how they were making this happen, they told me they include AR in every package they sell. They don’t offer untreated lenses to their patients. If the patient specifically doesn’t want the AR, then obviously they won’t include it, but they don’t discount the price of the package for that change. It’s highly effective.
Once you’ve got the hang of lens packages, consider creating a few more options that help your optical staff offer lenses to your patients tailored to lifestyle priorities. Give those packages great, descriptive names that will help your team sell them. For instance, a special “Golfer’s Lens Package” should include everything the avid golfer needs, like a polarized lens, amber color for intense color contrast, blue light protection, UV treatment, anti-reflective coating, etc. You can create appropriate options for all kinds of activities: office packages, gamer lens packages, artisanal lens packages for fine, detail work like handicrafts or sewing. Skiers and water sportsmen have needs as well. Tailor your options to your own patient demographics, and create packages for their needs. The end result will be strong tools to help your staff create 2nd pair sales, and ultimately, your patients will get more of the products that help them see clearly and comfortably as well.
Packaging lenses and lens options will improve your practice results on a lot of levels. Your staff will be more efficient. Their conversations with patients will be much simpler. Patients will feel less like you’re trying to sell them something and more like you’re trying to help them, and they will receive the best products for their vision needs. Last (but not least) your bottom line should see a good result as well.