Frames

Warranty Policy: Show Patients You Stand Behind Quality Optical Goods

By Rachael Click, OD

SYNOPSIS

Offering a warranty shows that you confidently stand behind quality optical goods. Done right, a warranty can be a revenue generator.

ACTION POINTS

SET TERMS.Set time limitsand policy exemptions, like lost, theft or prescription change.

COMPUTE COST OF POLICY. Add $10-$15 to the frame price to cover the few frames that the practice might have to purchase for the warranty. Frame vendors will often honor warranty replacements resulting in no cost to the practice.

PROMOTE WARRANTY. Include info on practice web site and provide policy info at dispensing.

When patients are in your optical, they may hem and haw before committing to a purchase. The risk of purchasing a pair of glasses, only to have them break a few months later, or have some other mishap occur, can make a patient pause. My practice helps diminish that risk by offering a two-year warranty on frames and lenses.

I would estimate that 1-1/2 percent of our frames and lenses are returned for a warranty remake. The lens warranty is primarily for scratches, and we sell 98 percent Crizal Avancee. Crizal offers a one-time, two-year warranty, so we simply pass that onto the patient. We have worked hard at only selling premium products as those companies stand behind their product.

Some may think a two-year warranty discourages annual purchases of eyewear, but that is not what I’ve experienced. If anything, the warranty allows patients to get another pair and turn the old pair into the “hard work” pair (for yard work or situations in which they don’t care if the frames get broken) because they know they are covered for another year with that frame.


One side of the warranty card Dr. Click’s practice gives to patients whenever they purchase a pair of glasses in her optical.

Set Terms

The frames patients purchase to be eligible for our warranty must be a current frame; not a frame that we are phasing out or part of a budget package. The lenses must have an appropriate anti-reflective coating. Our warranty protects against all damages except lost, theft or prescription change; no questions asked.
We have some frames that are still current, but that in working with the frame reps, we know are either not moving in our office or could be getting older to the frame collection. These are frames that we don’t necessarily want to exchange just yet but that we need to get out of our office. These frames get moved into our green dot value program. They now have a one-year warranty, but we are able to now sell them as being covered in full by insurance. This is a great way to still supply superior quality frames to our patients and meet their budgetary constraints.
If a patient chooses to not get AR, they forgo their lens warranty. If a patient gets a factory-type AR, then their lens warranty is reduced to one-year instead of the standard two-year that comes with premium ARs. Most our patients qualify for the two-year warranty as this practice is built on superior product quality. However, in trying to meet patients’ demands, we have tailored our warranties and selling strategies to service people who do not want to exceed their insurance benefits.

Assess Cost of Warranty

Our frame warranty has not cost the practice any money because we have been fortunate enough to never have to pay for the frame again. Our manufacturers have always honored our request for a warranty replacement when we send the damaged frame back. This is why we align ourselves with good-name frame manufacturers because they have partnered with us.

The cost to replace the warranty on value frames and lenses can cut into optical profits. If you want to transition or implement a warranty policy like the one my practice uses, I would consider adding $10-$15 to the frame price. The amount of extra revenue collected on this slight price increase would more than cover the few frames that the practice might have to purchase for the warranty. At the same time, I would also consider aligning with manufactures that offer a warranty.

The additional warranty policy costs are practice time and postage. The time costs are staff costs to handle the return process of a defective product. Another cost is postage for returning the product. We typically are always covered by our lab and frame manufacturers regarding the defective product. I think the reason we don’t have to pay for the cost of goods on the warranty is because the practice has always aligned itself with vendors who are able to support superior products.

Observe Patterns of Warranty Usage

The people who use the frame warranty the most are the parents of young boys. The single most common use of the warranty is young boys breaking their glasses, accounting for over 50 percent of the warranties used in our office. The next would be scratches and normal wear and tear.

Enhance Patient Loyalty, Practice Brand

Practice loyalty is the sum of all things you do to make a patient’s life easier. Patients often forget about their warranty and are very appreciative of their warranty when they need to use it. I think this sends a message of helpfulness and opens the door to purchasing other types of eyewear.

In addition, we have always aligned ourselves with the best brands of the best value possible. I think the fact that we have aligned ourselves with vendors who offer superior products speaks positively to our brand. It is one of the many ways we stand above our big-box store competition.

Our patient satisfaction surveys don’t ask directly about our warranty, but patients are always pleased and appreciative when they are able to use it. This holds especially true when glasses are damaged due to a faulty error from the manufacturer.

I think our warranty policy is a good starting point for any independent practice that wants to deliver superior product quality and service. The products sold here are more expensive than products purchased at chain stores, but the quality is superior, too. Our warranty policy is part of the quality experience we offer to patients.

Communicate Policy to Patients

The first potential place for new patients to learn about our warranty policy is on our web site. Once the patients are in the office, we are always educating them about how we offer superior services, including our warranty. When the patient’s glasses are dispensed we present them with a signed business card that reminds them that the warranty is part of the purchase.

Implement a Warranty Policy: Four Steps

Define what type of practice you want to be and stick to it. There are ways to keep the cost of goods low and still offer good product quality, such as by partnering with the right manufacturers and optical labs.

Design a policy that works for you. There will be scenarios in which you can change the policy for future purchases, but don’t get stuck and not act.
Talk with frame and lens vendors to define their warranties.Determine which vendors fit your business model, and which will stand by their product, providing replacements at no cost to the practice should a manufacturer defect occur.
If a warranty policy is new, add $10-15 to the frame price. Patients aren’t likely to notice, but it will more than cover the cost of the warranty if your vendors don’t already offer a good enough warranty.

Related ROB Articles

Implement an Unconditional Warranty to Build Customer Loyalty

The Tipping Point: Eyeglasses Warranty

Does a Warranty Help to Sell Children’s Frames?

Rachael Click, OD, is the owner of Preferred EyeCare Center in Mount Pleasant, SC. To contact her: drclick@preferredeyecarecenter.com.

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