Thoughts on Weeding Out Bottom Feeders

A subject came up several months ago on getting rid of patients that don’t use you for full services. These are patients that come in for an eye exam and don’t buy your products. Some of the feedback said patients are wasting their time and were bottom feeders. There were quite a few responses that said to take them out of recall. To tell you the truth, I am a bottom feeder. I get my eyes examined and take my RX out to get fulfilled. I don’t buy the products online, I just have other sources to get my RX filled. Does that make me a bottom feeder?

That said, I question why would you get weed out bottom feeders?  Here are a 15 questions to ask yourself about weeding out patients. 

1.) As a doctor/ eyecare professional, isn’t your primary responsibility the health of eyes? Isn’t that what you are all about?

2.) How many times have you gone somewhere and bought products elsewhere? Have you ever ‘wasted anybody else’s time’ in a shopping experience? If so than can you understand why your patients would do that?

3.) Have you ever bought on Amazon, Zappos, ebay or other online sites? Why would you blame someone else for doing the same thing?

4.) Did you know when you entered this field, did you understand that you would be working with the public? Working with the public can be challenging. The public, like eyecare professionals are both good bad one. We must remember each of us is ‘the public’ to someone and some business.

5.) Do you have the ability to make your own choices on who you want to do business with? i.e insurance companies, vendors and staff?  Many offices are stopping taking insurance, you have the exact same choice, as hard as it might be. If you feel that VCP’s are ‘bottom feeders’ stop taking the insurance if it is not profitable.

6.) Do you feel like the VCP’s are wasting your time and ‘knowledge which can be used for someone else’. Two parts to this. 1.) They are using your knowledge. They came in and got an eye exam and hopefully Wellness Testing. 2.) Are you seeing so many patients and so busy you can afford to drop patients and you don’t need to take insurance. Ergo see question #5.

7.) Would you drop the patient if they had no change in their RX? Did they waste your time and knowledge because they didn’t buy anything?

8.) What about referrals? How would dropping those patients that supported you by coming in and getting their eyes examined affect your referrals? Just because they went outside for ‘products’ doesn’t mean they didn’t like you or would not refer other people that would buy purchase all from you.

9.) Have you thought that maybe they didn’t buy from you because of staff? Do you have staff that are trained to specifically deal with these scenarios? Are your staff friendly and knowledgeable?

10.) How are you educating the patient? Do you have systems in place with staff to question and to educate on wellness, products and services? Have you broached this subject with your staff and put in systems to change?

11.) Have you considered that they didn’t like your product selection? Did you ask them?

12.) Have you given them in the chair a compelling reason to purchase from you? Do you walk, them out to the dispensary? Are your systems in place?

13.) Why take them out of recall? The cheese could be moved next year, or the year after. Are you prejudging a patient from one visit? How would know their circumstances? Financial and otherwise. Just because they didn’t buy from you today, doesn’t mean they will not buy from you tomorrow.

14.) Why Did they Leave? Most patients are good people, some may have been seeing you for awhile, the biggest question to ask is them, instead of making a judgement call is why did they leave? There is nothing wrong with asking that question. You might be surprised at the response.

15.) If you are charging for an eye exam, how are you wasting your time?

The bottom line, being in business is hard today. It really helps if you love/ like what you do. If you do that, the caring and enjoyment will show through to your patients. They will come back, they will refer and they will support you.  If you don’t like what you do, find something else to utilizes your strenghts and skills or find a way to make your job enjoyable. again. 



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