• December 1, 2005
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

From Sight to Insight

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Business growth at nearly three times the national average year over year is fantastic, especially if you own the business. When that growth is founded on the referrals of satisfied customers, all you can do is smile. Dr. David Wallace operates LA Sight Medical Center, an ophthalmology practice and laser vision correction facility. "In the old days a potential client's first impression occurred with the first phone call. Now, their first impression is what they see on your Web site," Dr. Wallace says. This is especially true of his particular practice. "In the modern era people see LASIK as tech-forward, and are more likely to go to the Web for information and contact." Because of this LA Sight's Web presence includes more than 120 pages of content that visitors can use to learn about vision correction and eye conditions, and they can read more than 200 patient testimonials. But that part of the operation is beyond Dr. Wallace's scope. "My experience is pretty representative of nontech people. We buy an application and have blind hope that it will do everything we want," he says. "GoldMine gives you a database and CRM functions, but you still have to customize it." LA Sight picked integrator Relationship Automation (RA). Company President Mark Durrant started out working for GoldMine in 1992, left the company in 2000, and founded RA to consult on GoldMine implementations. That familiarity enabled Durrant to ease LA Sight's transition. "He knew the product inside and out, but he also had the ability to translate his technical experience into the real world," Wallace says. Durrant's understanding of the product was crucial to his ability to make it work for LA Sight. "We needed to know what they wanted to do with their CRM needs, and what was being lost when they failed to execute," Durrant says. "Each 'sale' of a surgical procedure is worth $5,000 or more to LA Sight, so we needed to identify each step in the marketing and sales cycle." To increase its performance a practice can either spend money on better advertising or get better at converting prospects into patients. "There are a lot of human factors involved. Once the marketing is done and we get calls, emails, and Web forms, we track them very closely," Wallace says. "With GoldMine we can track all of the leads from multiple sources, see who handled each one, and follow it to see if it results in a consultation." LA Sight has grown 50 percent year over year since the GoldMine implementation. The industry average is 17 or 18 percent. "We get daily compliments on the quality and content of our site," Wallace says. He also notes that other LASIK practices and medical practices are looking to LA Sight as a best implementation of CRM, and are considering licensing the customization for their own use. "Now I'm a vendor, not just a client," Wallace says. The key indicator of a practice's success, Wallace thinks, is referrals from happy customers. "In addition to running general campaigns with GoldMine, we also send out e-cards, appointment reminders, and greetings to our patients," Wallace says. "We also have a system in place to thank people who refer friends [like] thank-you notes or sometimes a free dinner or movie tickets--just something to show we appreciate them." The Payoff By tying GoldMine into its Web site and customer portal, LA Sight was able to:
  • grow 50 percent year over year, nearly three times the industry average;
  • improve patient tracking from first call to surgery and beyond;
  • become an example to other medical practices; and
  • consider licensing its CRM implementation for added income.
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