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 By Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO, Editor April 17, 2002 - Tip #13 
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How does your staff really feel about A/R coatings?

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Additional Information

I happen to really like anti-reflection coatings on eyeglass lenses. All of my personal glasses have it and I recommend it to patients. But I noticed that the sales of this product were rather mediocre in our practice. Our office was at a measly 9% usage - while statistics show that 19% of glasses in the U.S. have A/R - Canada is at 40% usage, Europe is at 75% and Japan at a whopping 95%! We take pride in being a progressive office that dispenses high quality optical materials - so I decided to study this issue closer.

It occurred to me that while I love A/R coatings, not everyone does. We have all experienced a patient who just does not like the product because it shows smudges and oils and can scratch easier than non-coated lenses. Of course, these problems have been greatly reduced with newer technology, but it is still true. The percentage of people who dislike A/R is very small, however. Most people enjoy the benefits so much that after trying A/R, they continue to order it on all subsequent pairs of glasses.

So I wondered if any of my technicians who discuss lens options with our patients during frame selection happened to personally dislike A/R themselves. I know they are professionals, and that they accurately explain A/R, but do they have it on their own glasses? Do they heartily endorse it to every patient? Perhaps they are concerned that the patient may not like it - or that it costs so much - or that it takes much longer for the glasses to be ready.

After speaking with key staff members, I learned that some did not personally endorse the product. Some felt we should use a different lab for higher quality, some felt badly when a patient returned and they had to field a complaint, and some were just a little unaware of the benefits! I reviewed our policies and held a staff meeting specifically to discuss A/R coatings. Here are the main points I covered:

· A review of the benefits and the drawbacks of A/R coatings
· A review of how to educate the patient about A/R
· How to not pre-judge what people will want or can afford
· A review of cleaning A/R lenses (we dispense free cloth and cleaner)
· A need for our practice to present a unified approach on products - and our approach is that we like A/R coatings
· We would start using a new lab with better quality and service
· We always guaranteed A/R against scratches and defects for one year, and we strip the coating if a patient was not satisfied, but we added a new policy. We now offer a 60-day money-back policy on all A/R coatings - removing any risk in trying it.
I am happy to report that A/R coating usage immediately tripled following this meeting and is holding steady!

Bonus Tips:
· The new thing is to recommend A/R on photochromic lenses! It makes them look clearer indoors and eliminates glare that can occur in the darkened state.
· You must have plenty of samples for your staff to demonstrate to patients. I like using a finished pair of glasses - one lens with an A/R coat and the other without. If the tech puts these on her own face while looking at the patient, the product is immediately understood and usually sold.
· Have staff mention that fine quality lenses - like cameras, telescopes and binoculars - all have A/R.

Best wishes for continued success,

Read Past Tips Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week

A Proud Supporter of

Send questions and comments to neil@gailmard.com.

Dr. Gailmard offers consulting services to eye care professionals through Prima Eye Group; information is available at www.primaeyegroup.com.

Please Note: The views expressed in Management Tip of the Week do not necessarily reflect those of the sponsor.

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