Optometric Management Tip # 25   -   Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Dispensing Eyeglasses: The Tangible Details

The delivery of a pair of eyeglasses to a patient is a very important aspect of practice building, yet it is a part of our service that can easily under-perform because the optometrist is not often directly involved. The Rx delivery process should be reviewed frequently from an objective point of view. I’ll offer some tips on dispensing in two parts: the tangible and the intangible.

The tangible details of dispensing finished glasses are extremely important because optometry is a service “business” in which patients don’t really understand the service or the product. They have no way of judging spectacle lens quality, or eye exam quality. With no basis for evaluating what was purchased, people use other clues to help them decide if a service or product was a good value. The physical surroundings play a huge role in this perception of quality – which influences future referral patterns.

The act of dispensing is what the Disney Institute would call a “moment of truth”, and marketing experts may call an “influence point”. It is one important way the firm interacts with the customer.

Here are a few physical things to consider as you analyze your dispensing interaction:

  • Is it set up efficiently? It should look like this is a place that does glasses well. Are adjustment tools, salt pan and sink easily accessed? Can more than one patient be dispensed at one time if needed? Does it seem convenient to the patient?
  • How does the dispensing furniture look? The table or counter; the patient’s chair; the tech’s stool; the area where the patient looks straight ahead with the new glasses. Remodel this area and replace furniture before it is obviously needed.
  • Where are glasses stored? Where the glasses are retrieved from makes an impression as the patient watches. Invest in the storage cabinet and make it look efficient and properly sized.
  • How are the glasses packaged when they are brought to the patient? This is often not even looked at from the patient’s point of view – but I believe it makes a huge difference. Avoid the “lab look” that is so common – such as glasses in job trays, lab ticket wrapped around them with a rubber band, lens markings still present, etc. We even remove the progressive lens markings when the glasses are verified in our lab, and we’ve had no problems fitting them. The glasses should look like fine jewelry. Consider presenting them in a beautiful tray, or bringing them in their case.
  • How is the case? The case speaks volumes – don’t skimp and don’t advertise on it. Make it something that the patient would be proud of. Obviously, match designer cases with designer frames.
  • Other give-aways? We like to dispense a complimentary bottle of lens cleaner and a microfiber cloth. In my opinion, these are good places to put your practice name and logo.
  • Is the frame already in standard adjustment? You want it to fit well and feel good upon the first wearing.
  • What does the reading material look like? Avoid dog-eared, worn acuity charts. Replace them often with high quality materials. Printed text is better than a Snellen chart.
  • Is there an attractive, large mirror present?
  • How is the lighting? As an expert in vision, we must have plenty of light to read comfortably, and pleasing illumination on the patient’s face to make the first viewing in the mirror a success.
  • The dispensing visit may be the last interaction with the patient for some time and last impressions are just as important as first ones because they stick. Be sure to make this service special. More next week on what to say when delivering glasses!

    Best wishes for continued success,

    Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
    Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management