By Sherin George, OD
When patients leave your exam room and are handed off to the optical shop, does an optician not only greet them but provide them with one-on-one attention? At my practice, which I run with my optician and office manager husband, Jason, one-on-one attention is the standard, even for those purchasing a value eyeglasses package.
That personalized service extends to more than just giving the patient a tour of the optical. It means going the extra mile to look up different shapes and colors of frames that can be ordered to suit a patient’s taste. It also means ordering a frame the patient thinks she may like but is not yet sure she wants to purchase. We like to give our patients as many options as possible, so we will gladly order another variety of frame and, worse comes to worse, place it on our board for someone else to select.
Offering a proactive and personalized approach to service in the optical also means being direct with patients about price. Some optometric practices take the view that you should hide the price until the patient is close to the check-out counter. We take a different view. We feel that patients appreciate having the price conversation upfront. For that reason, Jason usually will ask the patient the price range he wishes to stay within. He also will calculate how much the patient’s vision benefit will cut the cost on a pair of eyeglasses enabling the patient to stay within his price range while having as wide a selection as possible.
At the same time, we are not shy about offering an up-sell on all the eyeglasses we dispense. That means we routinely discuss the advantages of AR, Transitions and scratch resistance. Such up-sells are made easier because we practice lifestyle dispensing. I prescribe additional lens treatments and second-pairs based on the patient’s lifestyle in the exam room, and Jason reinforces this prescription in the optical explaining to the patient again why the additional treatments or second pair is important. For example, a patient who is an avid outdoorsman will hear both from me, as well as Jason, why polarized sunglasses are a must and why Transitions also makes sense.
Patients appreciate our direct approach to discussing price and the way we educate them on additional lens treatments and second pairs that can benefit them.
The proof? Our strong capture rate. I estimate that as much as 70 percent of our patients buy eyewear from us. They know they can trust us to educate them and then make on-target recommendations. There is a reason so many of our patients ask for Jason by name when he isn’t there—they think of him as a trusted friend who can provide them with products that improve their lives.
How proactive are your opticians about educating and guiding each of your patients on a one-on-one basis?
Sherin George, OD,is the owner of Franklin Square Eyecare inFranklin Square, NY. To contact her:email@example.com.