Peter Drucker’s famous quip, “What gets managed gets measured [or improved],” is often referenced in discussions about practice metrics, usually when discussing the importance of committing to tracking data.
It's easy to speak in generalities about what’s happening in your practice. However, there’s no way to know how true these “feelings” are until you start collecting hard data.
Where to start with optical metrics
There are TONS of metrics that you can track. I think all practice consultants will say the importance is not to get paralyzed by what to track, but just pick some metric(s) and stick with it.
Humans tend to be most influenced by the here and now. A couple of low sale days in optical
can start you spiraling into, “What’s gone wrong?” Tracking metrics will allow you to see larger trends and not be as caught up in day-to-day sales.
With that in mind, it's a good idea to look at numbers on a monthly basis but ground your decision-making on numbers collected over a longer period, such as quarterly.
Five optical metrics to track
Not sure where to start? Here are the five metrics that will be key to almost any practice:
1. Optical sales per refraction
The numerator is the total frame and lens sales, and the denominator is the total refractions.
- Total Frame and Lens Sales / Total Refractions Performed
The total number of refractions performed is most often used instead of total exams. The thought is that you do not perform a refraction at every exam. The importance of the refraction is that each refraction has the potential to generate an optical sale.
2. Lens capture rate
The numerator is the total number of lenses sold, and the denominator is the total refractions performed.
- Total Lenses Sold / Total Refractions Performed
3. Frame capture rate
The numerator is the total frames sold, and the denominator is the total refractions performed.
- Total Frames Sold / Total Refractions Performed
Comparing the lens and frame capture rates will let you know if you’re selling more total pairs of glasses or lenses only.
Ideally, these two metrics should be close to one another. If the frame capture rate is much higher than the lens capture rate, it's a good idea to brainstorm how you can promote frame sales.
4. Percentage of anti-reflective coating
The numerator is the total lenses sold with anti-reflective
(AR), and the denominator is the total lenses sold.
- Total Lenses Sold With AR Coating / Total Lenses Sold
I included this metric because it's a popular one to track. However, I think all the glasses you sell should have AR—this is how my optical is run!
If you’re selling AR on every pair, then this number should be essentially 100, and not worth tracking. However, if you’re working towards this goal, this would be an appropriate number to track.
5. Your choice!
It's nice to have some freedom and think about what’s important to you and your staff. Examples are tracking second-pair sales, prescription sunglasses, and/or plano sunglasses
Whatever you decide will have a positive effect on sales per refraction and likely lens and frame capture rates as well.
Next step: Start tracking!
Getting started is the hardest part. Once you’ve got your numbers, I think it's much better to compare your metrics to your own practice vs. another or national averages.
There are so many variables that can influence practice metrics, which really makes it hard to compare practice to practice.
Knowing your numbers and your trends
will give you the best picture of your practice health. The longer you stick with it, the more data you will have and the better decisions you can make.