Optometric Management Tip # 26   -   Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Dispensing Eyeglasses: The Intangible Details

Last week’s tip covered the tangible aspects of dispensing eyewear, so I’ll focus on the intangible details this week. Don’t underestimate the importance of these details - over time, they can make the difference between a thriving practice and an average one. Be sure to monitor these operations frequently, they have a way of drifting away from what was once standard procedure. Continual re-training of staff members on these points is time well spent.

Here is a good question for a staff meeting, along with some points that I think are important. Compile your own list and print copies for all dispensing staff members.

What should a technician say when dispensing a new pair of glasses?
(I’ll throw in a few things to do as well)

  • Greet the patient with a cheerful and warm statement. Use the patient’s name and ask to be corrected on pronunciation if your not sure (it should be spelled phonetically in the chart).
  • Present and handle the glasses gracefully (see last week’s tip also).
  • Verbally review the features of the lenses and frame. For example, say: “Mr. Smith, I see you’ve ordered progressive lenses in a high index polymer. These are no-line multifocals, in the lightest and thinnest material available. You also have anti-reflective lenses to reduce glare and look better on your face. WHY do this? Two reasons: (1) Patients forget everything we tell them and they pay a lot for glasses; reminding of the special options builds value. (2) You want patients to talk to others about their new glasses and arming them with knowledge gives them something to say.
  • Make some adjustment, even if they fit perfect. This enhances the perception of professional, custom fitting.
  • Perform a final quality check of frame fit and that materials are free from defects. Acknowledge any problems you discover and propose a solution. You may wish to dispense the glasses so the patient can wear them while you re-order or re-make the correct part. Offer an apology without blaming co-workers and without becoming angry or upset. It should be very rare that a problem is found at dispensing.
  • Complement the patient or the new glasses in some way. Be sincere and natural.
  • Instruct the patient on use of the glasses, especially if this is the first time wearing this type of lens. Verify the quality of vision at appropriate viewing distances.
  • Instruct the patient on the care and use of the glasses. Try to keep this simple and easy.
  • State the balance due and ask how the patient wishes to pay. This requires a system to make this reliable and smooth.
  • Close with something positive, like “I’m sure you’re going to get many complements on your new glasses! Don’t hesitate to let us know if they should need any adjustment.”
  • Happy dispensing!

    Best wishes for continued success,

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