Did you know that holiday decorations are scientifically proven to make people happier? It’s true! Holiday decorations actually improve our moods! 

"It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness," Deborah Serani, a psychologist, told Today. "I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation, the normal day in, day out ... signals our senses, and then our senses measure if it's pleasing or not."

In the case of holiday decorations, the senses definitely pick up pleasure. Serani explained that holiday decorating releases a dopamine spike

With the holiday season upon us, is your practice in the spirit? 

Making your patients feel good at your practice is part of being a successful independent eye care provider. The hallmarks of independent care such as dropping vision plans and working with independent vendors are all about improving the patient experience and building a more successful practice your way. Decorating for the holidays is just an extension of that effort. 

In eye care, the holiday season coincides with the busiest time of year: The period when annual vision plan benefits expire. Patients come in to use the benefits they’ve been paying for before they expire. Meanwhile, providers set appointments with patients who aren’t aware their annual benefits may soon go to waste. 

The holiday season can help you enhance the patient experience and have a successful end-of-year busy benefits period. Here’s how:

Set your team up for success

Even though it comes around pretty regularly, the end of the year can sneak up on your practice if you’re not proactive about it. Take a look at your schedule and transaction logs from last year, especially as you get closer to the final week of the current year. Did you somehow manage to see three or four more patients per day than you usually do? Did you sell more glasses in that last week of the year than you did through most of last October? 

Whatever the results are, use that information to your advantage. If you see a rush of patients at the end of the year, make sure your staff is ready to go and has everything they need to be successful. The last week of the year is a terrible time to run out of paper, nose pads or cases; make sure you stock up well in advance.

Is your frame inventory stocked for a busy period?

Is your frame inventory stocked for a busy period?

Think about your frame inventory. Do you usually send frames into the lab from right off your boards as soon as they sell? When you’re dispensing more frames than usual your boards can start to look empty pretty quickly. Before you know it you’re out of your top sellers. Is it worth ordering frames from the manufacturer to the lab rather than leaving your inventory looking picked through? 

Every situation is unique and has its own opportunities and challenges. Use the information you have at hand to make the best possible decisions for yourself, your team, and your business.

Communicate ahead of time

Are you running any promotions for the holiday season? Or just trying to get patients in to use their benefits before they expire? Either way, communicate ahead of time!

Your patients will know of neither your holiday specials nor their expiring benefits if you don’t give them a heads up. Think about updating your social media and your website and don’t forget to send emails and make phone calls ahead of time. By doing all or some of that, you can make sure your patients are setting appointments to come in and buy eyewear as gifts for family and friends, using their expiring benefits, and taking advantage of any promotions you’re offering.

Using pre-appointments to drive a successful end to the year

You can start as far as a full year out from the holiday season by setting pre-appointments. Locking in appointments now significantly improves the chance that patients return next year to use their remaining benefits again. 

As their appointments get closer, send emails reminding them of the upcoming visits. And if those appointments fall within the holiday season you can have some fun with your messaging! 

Reference the holidays and seasonal changes in your emails and phone call scripts to help ensure your messaging is relevant to this moment in your patients’ lives. It may seem like a small detail, but connecting with patients in these ways can substantially improve their experience with your practice. 

Script for the holidays

We touched on this above, but let’s take a brief look at writing unique scripts for the holiday season. Training on scripts helps staff remember practice messaging to ensure they’re delivering patients the best experience possible. 

By making a few small tweaks to reminder emails and staff scripts you can inject some holiday spirit into patient conversations. Add a “Happy Holiday” or mention an upcoming promotion; just make sure your scripts reflect the holiday season!

Decorate your optical to improve patients' buying experiences.

Decorate your space

What do patients see when they visit your practice or walk through your optical? As we mentioned earlier, if it’s decorations then that will be enough to improve their mood! 

By making patients feel better as they enter your practice you’re priming them to make a purchase. Whether it’s your window display or your retail optical space, you can do plenty to spruce up for the holiday season!

Decorations aren’t limited to how your practice looks, but also how it feels. Do you have a single serving coffee machine in your practice? Why not offer a nice cup of hot chocolate to your patients as they look around the optical department? Imagine how much more connected that patient will feel to your practice if they associate it with holiday warm fuzzies. 

Offer Feel Good promotions

The holiday season is often the busiest time of year for lots of people. Many are focused on all the things they have to get done rather than doing good. The season of giving can get lost in the shuffle of lists and tasks. But during the holidays giving can be another reason patients smile at your practice. Offer a discount to your patients if they donate a toy or non-perishable food to your drive. They’ll feel good for having given to someone less fortunate than themselves and for getting some savings on their eyewear. 

Not only does this drive business to your practice in the moment, it also helps you do good in your community. When you deliver those toys and/or food to folks in your community, you will have been a force for good. If you make it an annual tradition, your patients will become accustomed to it and look forward to shopping at your practice because of it. 

Have a Prosperous New Year

From all of us here at Anagram, we wish you a happy and healthy end to 2021 and a prosperous beginning to 2022. If you’d like to learn more about what we’re doing at Anagram to make sure our customers end this year right and kick off their best year ever in 2022 click here.