Article Date: 2/1/2009

Get Ready — It's Showtime
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Get Ready — It's Showtime

Capitalize on your patients' suspense and anticipation for their new glasses.

GARY GERBER, O.D.

Most of the blazers I wear are black and basic. Since I travel so much, I wear out about four per year. So, every January I buy four more black, basic blazers. Invariably, they need alterations, and I'm told, "Come back in about 10 days to pick them up." Even though I've repeated this routine with the same store and same jacket style, I still have a sense of anticipation as I'm driving to the store to pick up my jackets.

Industry data show that on average, patients change their eyeglasses about every 18 to 24 months. Since frame styles change in that amount of time, odds are the patient will get a new look with each new frame. Current frame: three-piece drill mount. New one: black rectangular plastic. The change is usually so dramatic that patients know in advance when they wear their new glasses to work they're sure to hear, "Hey, did you get new glasses?"

If picking up a mundane sport coat can stir anticipation in me — a guy who doesn't dislike, but despises shopping — what thoughts are going through a patient's head on his way to pick up new glasses? After all, he's had the same exact frame for two years. The suspense has been building since he chose the frame in your office a week ago. Now folks, get ready because it's show time!

How do you capitalize on your patient's suspense and anticipation for his glasses? Does your practice bring out elegant, meticulously made glasses in a dirty, stained lab tray, complete with torn plastic bag and tattered rubber bands? Does that presentation smack of one that helps to make the most of your patients pent up eagerness to try on their new glasses? Of course not. Here are three ways — one is tangible, two aren't — to heighten this event and make it memorable for your patients.

"We've been waiting for you."

Typically, patients approach your front desk and say, "I'm here to pick up my glasses." Then, a staff member finds and dispenses them. Instead, have glasses ready at the front desk (this necessitates scheduling eyeglass pick-ups — a good idea to help control scheduling). It allows you to tell the patient, "You're glasses are right here waiting for you, and they came out great. You're going to love them." The point: Squeeze that last bit of suspense out of this critically important moment.

Say bye-bye to trays

Dispense the glasses in something worthy of their importance. My clients have used gutted music and jewelry boxes; clean velvet place mats (like jewelers use); branded and tasteful shopping bags complete with trimmings, such as presentation paper, eyeglass cloths, cleaners and chocolate. Use your imagination, and take full advantage of this critical moment. Make it one patients won't soon forget.

Make the patient a rock star

Once you've dispensed and have verified that everything with the glasses is ok, gather other staff members to share in the excitement. "Doesn't Mrs. Smith look absolutely stunning in her new eyeglasses? They look amazing."

Yes, this elevated awareness, orchestrated build-up and exaggerated delivery can back fire if the glasses aren't as stellar as we lead the patient to believe they are. Therefore, to prevent patient disappointment, ensure your quality control checkpoints are working correctly, and strive for zero defects in any optical products you dispense. After all, even I'd be disappointed if one of my jackets was missing a sleeve. OM


DR. GERBER IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE POWER PRACTICE, A COMPANY SPECIALIZING IN MAKING OPTOMETRISTS MORE PROFITABLE. LEARN MORE AT WWW.POWERPRACTICE.COM, OR CALL DR. GERBER AT (800) 867-9303.

Optometric Management, Issue: February 2009