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Yes, We're Open

COVID-19 Patient Communication Best Practices

Patient communication as it relates to a global pandemic is complicated to say the least. That said, we believe it is of critical importance to continue reaching out to your patients during this time. It presents an opportunity to demonstrate your flexibility and commitment to meeting their needs. It is important to remember we’re all working toward the same goals: keeping everyone safe, healthy, and calm as we work toward recovery and finding our new normal.

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How to communicate

When it comes to recovery communication, the tone of voice you use with your patients should be:

  • Transparent
  • Authentic
  • Encouraging
  • Empathetic

Empathy is especially important as we don’t know everyone’s unique situation as it relates to the pandemic. Looking for inspiration? Observe COVID-19 communications from other businesses and what has resonated the most with you.

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What to communicate

You know your patients want to hear from you, but you may not know what to say. Consider the thought starters below for your COVID-19 communications.

  1. Hours of Operation/Accessibility 
    Are you open? If not, when do you plan on re-opening? (When it’s safe to do so is an acceptable response.) If open, do you have new temporary hours? (Sidenote: Be sure to add or modify your store hours of operation displayed on our locator by logging into your EssilorPro account .) Are you available via other means, such as telemedicine? How can patients contact you if they have any questions?
  2. Safety
    What are you doing to keep patients safe as they re-enter your practice? Check out our safety guidelines and communicate relevant details to your patients.
  3. Expertise
    Position yourself as a thought leader by sharing the latest information on eye care and vision care as it relates to COVID-19. This includes new rules and regulations, eye conditions that may be caused by COVID-19, eye care as it relates to more screen time, etc.
  4. Community involvement
    Is there any way you’re giving back during this time? If so, let’s hear it! This could be as simple as how you’re caring for your own staff/how they’re adjusting (e.g., at-home education)
  5. Celebrate the little things 
    Post practice and work anniversaries and other positive moments on social media. Be sure everything is COVID-19-sensitive and timed appropriately. You don’t want to appear tone deaf/out of touch with what’s going on in the world.
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When to communicate

Communicate early and often and respond to messages quickly. But be mindful of people’s inboxes, which are likely overflowing with emails from all businesses who are currently re-opening.

Where to communicate

Strategic communicators not only know what to say, but how to tailor their messaging to each channel, such as email programs, social media, etc. For example, consider how you’d interact with a patient in real life versus an email blast or a social media post.

EMAIL, TEXT AND WEBSITE

Customer service and support

  • Patient and practice health and safety
  • Addressing current trends and issues (e.g., blue light)
  • Nod to community involvement as a support point to what you’re doing

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

  • Office accessibility/hours of operation and any relevant new services (e.g., increased telemedicine)
  • Patient and practice health and safety
  • Addressing current trends and issues (e.g., blue light)
  • Community involvement
  • Consider what patients are looking for on each platform. LinkedIn and Twitter are often sources of information and celebration (e.g., practice/work anniversaries) while Facebook and Instagram may be better suited for moments of distraction and levity.
  • Consider posts that might spark conversation. Don’t be shy about asking patients for topic suggestions or what they want to hear from you during this time. 

INTERACTIVE VOICE RESPONSE (IVR)

Customer service and support, appointment reminders, etc.

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