A “fundamental shift” has occurred in the way people react with technology, leading to a change in what people expect from their optometrist, according to a leading digital strategist.
Anthony Denver, from international digital advertising agency R/GA, has also warned Australian eye health professionals that in a digital landscape dominated by search engines, “if you are not on Google, you don’t exist”.
Mr. Denver was one of the speakers at a Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Symposium, entitled ‘If You Build It They Will Come’, held at SRC in Melbourne last month.
Mr. Denver said optometrists should learn from the example set by retail book stores that sat back and watched the emergence of Amazon, without altering their business models.
“It is up to businesses and industries to react and use all the tools available to them,” he said.
He said people are becoming so connected, that the web was “omnipresent” with some people checking their smart devices up to 250 times a day. Another study reached the “sad” conclusion that “having an internet connection is better than having a best friend”, he said.
Mr. Denver said 91 per cent of all search requests in Australia were done through Google, and 30 per cent of all searches were done on a mobile device.
“Mobile search is becoming a massive, massive thing right now… you need to be conscious of how websites look in mobile search… If you’re not in Google, you don’t exist.”
Mr. Denver warned that the integrated online approach adopted by large corporations had changed customer expectations. Consumers were looking for “one click service”, he said.
“People have this expectation that if Qantas can do it, why doesn’t everyone else? They don’t distinguish between the size (of the company),” he said.
Also crucially important, Mr. Denver said, were online reviews – while only two per cent of customers would go to the trouble of writing a review, 90 per cent of people read them. He said optometry practices needed to be more conscious of seeking and enhancing positive online reviews.
Mr. Denver told the SRC symposium new tools were available that made it easier for small businesses to offer a “seamless, integrated approach” to connecting with customers online, by facilitating online appointment scheduling, and email confirmations and reminders.
He said the digital strategy developed by optometrists should be an expression of the practice’s existing business plan, and project the unique attributes of the practice in the online space.