ENTER ANYONE’S closet, and you’ll see several pairs of shoes. Similarly, most wardrobes reveal more than one pair of jeans. Ask any spectacle wearer how many pairs of glasses he or she has, however, and many will reply, “one.” Why is this? I’ve found that unlike with shoes and jeans, consumers often are not educated on the personal value of having more than one pair of glasses.
When my staff and I made a concerted effort to provide this education to consumers, my optical saw a 25% increase in sales within a few short months. Here’s what we did.
1 WE ROLE PLAYED
We spent a few hours discussing the importance of asking consumers about their lifestyles and took turns playing the consumer, so every optician could practice naturally asking, “So, what do you do for a living?” “And in your spare time?”
Also, we reported weekly on multiple pairs sold and other optical metrics, such as capture rate. Further, I provided the opticians with guidelines on discounts (explained below) they could offer consumers.
2 STAFF PLANTED THE SEED
I instructed our front desk staff to ask consumers to bring all their pairs of glasses to their appointments to send the message that having more than one pair is standard.
Specifically, staff were instructed to say, “Please be sure to bring your everyday glasses, prescription sunglasses, sports glasses, computer glasses, reading glasses and backup glasses, so Dr. Lou can examine them to ensure all are providing you with optimal vision and comfort.”
Next, when consumers presented with just one pair of glasses, I had my technicians make “small talk” about their profession, hobbies and everyday activities, such as driving, and how they use their eyes for all. This way, my technicians could explain the value of having more than one pair. This often led to consumer reactions of ,“Hey, I could really use a pair of glasses for that!” For consumers who presented with multiple pairs of glasses, my technicians were instructed to read aloud all their eyewear to reiterate the benefit of multiple spectacles.
Finally, the technicians write in the consumers’ charts the activities that could be enhanced by a pair of glasses and all glasses brought with them to facilitate my ability to prescribe from the chair.
3 I CONTINUED THE CONVERSATION
Once consumers were in my chair, I reviewed the technician’s notes, along with the pre-testing data, and asked follow-up questions about the consumer’s profession, hobbies and day-to-day activities to determine the best eyewear.
Eye Glasses By the Numbers
- 10.5%: The amount of prescription eye glass transactions involved in the purchase of one or more pairs during that transaction.
- 14%: The amount of sales chains, mass merchants, wholesale clubs and department store retailers attribute to multiple pair purchases.
- 8%: The amount independent ECPs attribute to multiple pair purchases.
- 33.6%: The amount of consumers who like having multiple pairs for convenience.
- 25.7%: The amount of consumers who say they wear different eyeglasses for different activities or functions.
Courtesy: The Vision Council
For example, if a note from the technician said the patient worked long, overnight hours on a computer, I would ask whether he experienced problems with eyestrain on the computer as well as daytime glare while driving home. If he replied, “yes” to computer eyestrain, I would educate him about the benefits of computer glasses. If he said “yes” to daytime glare, I would explain the benefit of prescription sunglasses. By identifying visual problems that consumers weren’t aware had solutions, I not only showed I genuinely cared about their visual comfort, I was also able to come up with the exact pair of glasses needed to help them.
4 I PRESCRIBED
The power of a doctor’s written prescriptions is not to be overlooked, as a consumer does not remember everything discussed during his or her exam. Also, when a consumer sees that I’ve taken the time to write multiple prescriptions, it sends the message that it’s worthwhile to think about getting multiple pairs of glasses.
5 I HANDED OFF TO THE OPTICIAN
Whenever possible, I walked my consumers to an optician or messaged an optician to come to the exam room to meet the consumer. I introduced the consumer to the optician and proceeded to give some details about the consumer’s different glasses prescription. For example, “Mrs. Jones has three written prescriptions because she needs an everyday pair, which are her progressive lenses, but she also needs a prescription sunglass pair when she is out and about, and lastly she needs a dedicated computer pair when she has a lengthy computer session.” This dialog reinforced to the consumer the importance of the prescriptions.
6 WE OFFERED A SAME-DAY SALE INCENTIVE
If a consumer had vision insurance, the amount of lost profit on our first pair sale was anywhere from 35% to 60% of the retail price. With that in mind, I calculated that even if I gave 30% to 50% off the second pair of glasses, my practice most often made considerably more on the second pair sale vs. the first pair. Additionally, many vision plans call for 20% to 30% off multiple pair sales anyway. So, that was often where I had my opticians start their discount for multiple pairs. I was comfortable with my opticians offering up to 35% off for an additional pair of glasses, and I did not put restrictions on second pairs, unless the designer brand dictated a certain price.
In cases of out-of-pocket pay, we’d offer a “free” second frame if he or she purchased a second full set of lenses. Further, I gave my opticians leeway to discount up to 40% on multiple pair sales, but I usually asked they get special approval first, since it was an out-of-the-ordinary discount.
ALL IN THE VALUE
Making these six changes was not difficult, but rather fulfilling, as it resulted in consumers receiving more service and care from a practice they were already comfortable with.
The bottom line: When you educate and reinforce to consumers the personal value of additional pairs of glasses throughout their visit with your practice, they recognize that, just like shoes and denim, having more than one pair makes sense. OM