PECAA Members Dr. Jessica Lynch and Dr. Linda Knutson, recently moved their practice, Vivid Eye Care, to a new location. Located in a booming area of Hillsboro, OR, their new office offers more space, a modern design and a prime corner location, all within a mile of their previous office.
In this PECAA Member Spotlight Q&A, Dr. Lynch and Dr. Knutson share their step-by-step moving process, including selecting a new space, designing their optical, communicating with patients, utilizing social media and how being PECAA Members helped them have a successful moving experience.
Q: What factors influenced your decision to move practice locations?
We were at our previous location for five years and needed more space to expand. We needed to hire a Patient Care Coordinator, but did not have a place for her to work. We had signed a five year lease and decided this would be the perfect time to find a larger office.
Q: Describe the process of choosing your new office location:
We wanted our new office to be in close proximity to our previous location, to keep from losing any of our existing patients. We also wanted something that was highly visible. There was a new luxury apartment building with retail space below being constructed only two blocks from us. It was the perfect location, twice the size and on the corner of a busy intersection. It is also within walking distance to the Max Lightrail public transportation station. Plus, the rent was cheaper so we were sold!
Q: Describe the construction/design phase of the move?
We felt comfortable doing the space design ourselves and utilized the architectural draftsman we used on our previous clinic to draw up our plans. We knew what we wanted, an elegant, yet modern feel to our space. We spent a lot of time considering every detail, from widened hallways to high ceilings, in order to achieve a spacious feel. We also used the construction firm from our previous buildout to do the work on our new space. During the construction of our previous clinic, the firm came in under budget, on-time and were very good communicators. That was enough to earn our business the second time around.
Q: What strategies did you use when designing your new optical department? Did you implement any new merchandising/display techniques?
Our new space is very open with large eight foot windows. While the natural light is wonderful, it does cut down on the amount of wall space available for display. Our optical department definitely has a boutique feel. We don’t utilize any frame boards and instead rely on individual pieces of furniture and frame risers to display the eyewear. The optical has an elegant, modern feel: chandeliers, crown molding and stainless steel accents. To go along with this feel, we wanted to highlight our more high-end frames. These lines take center stage in the optical. They are displayed in the middle of the room under the chandelier, so that when you enter the space, it’s obvious that those frames are special.
Q: Did you introduce any new frame lines, technology, equipment, etc.to appeal to your patient demographic? If so, how are you advertising to patients? Yes, we introduced one new high-end frame line and expanded another. Our patients tend to be under 40, well-educated and with either no children or with younger families. They’re looking for fresh, new frames but with great quality and special high-tech features like carbon fiber. Where to spend our advertising dollars is something we struggle with. We have utilized traditional print media in the past but word of mouth referrals seem to be the largest draw. We also utilized email, postcards and PECAA’s social media program to announce our move and our grand opening event. We promoted our new frame line with a special discount for our grand opening.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced during the moving process?
It was very challenging deciding how to transition patient care from one clinic to another. In the end, we decreased patient care for Thursday, packed on Friday, and moved everything on Saturday. We spent Monday and Tuesday unpacking and were open and seeing patients on Wednesday. Another challenge was the process of switching all of our insurance companies and vendors to the new address.
Q: Did any of the tools and knowledge you’ve gained as a PECAA Member help you with the moving process? If so, how?
The most important tool we were able to utilize being a PECAA Member was the social media program. We were very busy seeing patients and making plans and decisions for the new location, we did not have extra time to spend on social media. PECAA coordinated scheduled content updates about our move and Grand Opening for our existing social media followers, and executed a Facebook Ads campaign to reach the general public in our area.
Q: What communication strategies did you use to notify your current patients that your practice would be moving?
As soon as we started negotiations with our current landlord, we started notifying patients that the following year they would be seeing us in our new location. The entire process took about nine months, so we were able to have the conversation with many of our patients. Also, four weeks, two weeks and one week before we moved, we sent out an email to all of our patients reminding them of the new location. We mailed out postcards to those patients that we did not have an email address for. During the last month before the move, we sent the same postcards home with the patient when they came in to either schedule an exam or pick up their glasses.
Q: How did you utilize social media to communicate the move to your patients? We used PECAA to help us with our Facebook Ads campaign. During the two months of our build-out, we made sure that we kept all of our Facebook followers up to date on the progress of the construction and the move. We then sent out several moving announcements and invitations to our grand opening event, via Facebook. PECAA ran specific Facebook Ads to target new patients within our certain geographical area. This campaign resulted in thousands more potential-patients seeing our ad.
Q: Did you do any advertising in your community to attract new patients? If so, was it successful?
We have found in the past that advertising can be very difficult. We have tried several different methods with limited success. Our greatest advertising is word of mouth!
Q: How did PECAA’s Digital Marketing Program help with communicating your move to your patients?
PECAA’s Digital Marketing Program helped us keep in touch with our patients as well as get our name out to many new, potential patients. The PECAA Team was very easy to work with and had a lot of great ideas on how to position ourselves in our new neighborhood and reach more people. We have found that it gets to be too difficult to manage social media on our own. With PECAA’s Digital Marketing Program, it is one less thing to do so we can concentrate on caring for patients and running our business.
Q: Describe your grand opening party:
Our grand opening party was held on a Saturday and was complete with a free outdoor ice cream cart, food, wine and several frame giveaways. We had a frame show during the event , offering patients an additional discount when purchasing that particular line. We handed out flyers throughout the neighborhood and decorated our façade with banners and balloons. It was a very festive, fun environment.
Q: Do you have any advice or suggestions for fellow PECAA Members who are planning to move practice locations?
Since the process of moving your practice to a new location is a very long one, it really helped us to keep a construction/ moving calendar. We wrote everything on it: dates that we had to have papers signed, bids completed, insurances notified, business cards made. Everything was on this calendar. We went through every aspect of our practice and noted what changes, if any, needed to be made , assigned a deadline and put it on the calendar. This helped to keep us on task and eliminated many possible oversights.