It is important to keep an eye on all aspects of the patient experience in your practice. If the doctor or manager does not supervise one area for a long time, the chances are good that the procedure will decline in quality. Let’s look at the eyeglass delivery visit, for example. In many offices, this visit has become extremely routine and boring! There are typically some basic adjustments on the frame and some perfunctory instructions about how to clean the lenses. The optician checks to see if there is a balance due and then it is “Have a nice day!”
That scenario is really unfortunate because it is a huge missed opportunity for your practice! The visit to the optometrist to pick up of new glasses is one of the most fun and exciting events in a patient’s life! The patient is about to change their appearance with a whole new look and they are also about to see much clearer than before! They are picking up a new product that costs hundreds of dollars and they waited two weeks to get! Let’s help them enjoy the moment!
Here are six points that will help you create a wonderful patient experience at eyeglass dispensing visits:
A great presentation
Set the stage and add to the excitement by having the new glasses look great when you first present them to the patient.
Use an attractive tray to carry and display the glasses when bringing them to the patient. We use trays lined in black velvet to show off the frame and not compete with its own beauty and color.
Do not allow any job tickets, rubber bands, plastic bags or other materials to be seen by the patient. The new lenses should be cleaned in advance by your staff so no lab markings are present.
Add a piece of fine chocolate or other small gift to the tray. Also, dispense a micro cleaning cloth with the practice logo.
Display the eyeglass case separately from the glasses.
Include any brand certificates, warranties, a practice brochure and a business card to be given to the patient.
The optician must smile and be excited when the glasses are presented. Act like this is the most perfect and most beautiful pair of glasses you have ever handled and you are indeed privileged to dispense such an astonishing health care device. The goal is to get the patient to share this excitement.
Give a compliment
Always find something nice to say about the new glasses when they are first placed on the patient’s face. This is usually about how the glasses look, such as “Wow, these frames look really good on you. That was a perfect choice!” There are many other variations, such as “These glasses make you look younger” or “I love this frame, especially in this color!” If another staff member happens to walk by and stops for a moment and says “Those glasses are really cute! I love them!”… well, you get the picture.
Review all the lens and frame features
While adjusting and checking the frame fit, the optician should always review the lens features that were selected for this order. Just say the name of each item and describe what that means to the patient. For example: “I see your glasses have premium non-glare surfaces; that reduces reflections and allows you to see more clearly at night. Look in the mirror; it almost looks like there are no lenses in the frame! Also, these are high-index plastic lenses, which are the thinnest and lightest lenses available.”
The reason we do this quick review is not only to build value for the product in the patient’s mind, but more importantly, it gives the patient fresh information they will share with others as soon as someone asks if he has new glasses. The patient then becomes your salesperson in the field.
Take photos for social media
After getting the new glasses adjusted, ask the patient if you can take his photo to post on your practice Facebook or Instagram page. Mention that you like to show other patients what the newest frame styles are and the best way to do that is with real people. If the patient agrees, ask him to sign a simple permission slip that you can post his name and picture online.
Also offer to take a photo of the patient with his own phone if he would like to post a photo with his new glasses on his own social media sites. That produces publicity for your office that is seen by the patient’s circle of friends, not just yours.
Sell another pair
Most businesses that sell a retail product only see the customer one time. The person buys the product and leaves with it. We are incredibly fortunate that our product requires a repeat visit to pick it up and that is actually another opportunity to sell another product! Design a special promotion for your opticians to present as they deliver the glasses. You don’t want this experience to seem pushy, so make the offer so good it will be seen as doing the patient a favor by telling her about it. Also, keep in mind that you are typically not selling any eyewear at the dispensing visit, so any profit you make here is additional profit!
Here is an example we are trying in my practice: “Mrs. Smith, I want you to know about a new promotion we have as a thank you for patients who are picking up new glasses and want another pair. We always offer 50% off on second pairs of glasses and I can extend that to you today and offer an additional 10% off any frame and lens in the office; so 60% off today! Do you want to look at those sunglasses again?” If you have notes on the job ticket about other frames or other types of glasses the patient was interested in but did not order, you can customize this offer.
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week
Dr. Gailmard's new book, Practice Management in Optometry: A Blueprint for Success Based on the Optometric Management Tip of the Week, is now available on Amazon.