Subscribe to dba    dba Archives    VisionMonday

dba Logo
  May 1, 2013
Search
dba q&a

Eye-Where: When Patients Take Eyewear into Their Own Hands

By dba Staff


Patients expecting repairs and adjustments on glasses they bought somewhere else, requesting to take their prescription elsewhere and asking eyecare professionals to provide them with their PD measurements all seem to be accelerating, particularly as buying online increases. From doing it all for free to charging for measurements or withholding information, ECPs' reactions to these requests vary, and here a diverse group of optical retailing leaders share their varied responses.

The following optical retailers told dba the policies they follow when patients take eyewear into their own hands: Larry L. Pearson, president and CEO, Midwest Vision Centers; Brad Bowers, managing partner, Bowers & Snyder Opticians; Judd Sky, President/CEO, Partners in Vision Inc.; Stephen L. Franklin, Chief Executive Officer, Accurate Optical Company, Inc.; Alan Ulsifer, OD, CEO and president, FYidoctors; Gordon A. Bishop, FNAO, ABOC, RO, CEO and president, Sunland Optical; Mark Johnson, director of optical services, Virginia Eye Institute; and David H. Hettler, OD, Drs. May & Hettler.

 

Larry L. Pearson, president and CEO, Midwest Vision Centers, Sauk Rapids, Minn.

What is your policy regarding people requesting repairs/adjustments on eyeglasses that they have not purchased from you? We look at each patient interaction as an opportunity to sell our products and services. We do not charge for basic repairs or adjustments, always trying to help the patient. Many times these good deeds result in new customers.

For your regular patients who ask for their prescription, what do you do to encourage them to buy their eyewear from you instead of somewhere else? We always ask why, in a nice way. From that we can offer our wide selection of frames and lenses, special packages and online contact lens ordering. If you ask why, you may be able to save the sale.

What is your policy regarding patients or customers who ask for a PD measurement? Again, we ask why, are nice and give them what they need. We do not charge for PDs. In many cases we provided the exam, so they expect some service. Customers buy from people they like. We want them to like us. We want them to buy from us, so we try to show that. Online is a faceless place. People still want a doctor and optician to help. Just remind them.

 

Brad Bowers, managing partner, Bowers & Snyder Opticians, Baltimore, Md.

What is your policy regarding people requesting repairs/adjustments on eyeglasses that they have not purchased from you? Free, unless it appears the glasses were never adjusted before, then $25.

For your regular patients who ask for their prescription, what do you do to encourage them to buy their eyewear from you instead of somewhere else? We release the Rx but not the PD or other measurements. We mention that opticians in Maryland are not licensed or credentialed and that you get what you paid for.

What is your policy regarding patients or customers who ask for a PD measurement? We don't release the PD.

 

Judd Sky, president/CEO, Partners in Vision Inc., Linden, N.J.

What is your policy regarding people requesting repairs/adjustments on eyeglasses that they have not purchased from you? We are happy to do adjustments and minor repairs at no charge. We warn them that we cannot be responsible if a frame is accidentally broken.

For your regular patients who ask for their prescription, what do you do to encourage them to buy their eyewear from you instead of somewhere else? We show and provide them with a superior level of service and quality along with preferred patient pricing.

What is your policy regarding patients or customers who ask for a PD measurement? While we are hopeful they will purchase glasses from us, we don't give the patient any hassle taking a PD measurement and giving it to them.

 

Stephen L. Franklin, chief executive officer, Accurate Optical Company, Inc., Salisbury, Md.

What is your policy regarding people requesting repairs/adjustments on eyeglasses that they have not purchased from you? Our policy is to evaluate the condition of the frame and ask patients to sign a breakage waiver. Since the frame was not purchased from us we cannot be responsible for any breakage that occurs during adjustment. If patients sign the waiver, there is no charge for the repair or adjustments, and we offer our full exam and eyewear services to them for future needs.

For your regular patients who ask for their prescription, what do you do to encourage them to buy their eyewear from you instead of somewhere else? For patients planning to leave with their prescriptions, we take a few moments to determine why they choose not to purchase in our office. If the reason is price or selection, we make an effort to assist them in finding something that would suit their needs that is in their price range.

What is your policy regarding patients or customers who ask for a PD measurement? Assuming that the information is requested for an online purchase, we explain the risks of that type of transaction and try to help them find something in our inventory that appeals to them. If patients still choose to leave with their measurements, we explain that the data they are requesting is not a part of the exam in our office, and we are happy to provide it to them for a $35 charge.

 

Alan Ulsifer, OD, CEO and president, FYidoctors, Alberta, Canada

What is your policy regarding people requesting repairs/adjustments on eyeglasses that they have not purchased from you? Unfortunately, we have a mixed policy and passionate debate where some charge a fee, while others still offer it as a service. We have had difficulty coming to consensus, but my personal feeling is we need to change the perception that eyeglass repairs are free.

For your regular patients who ask for their prescription, what do you do to encourage them to buy their eyewear from you instead of somewhere else? We openly accept this and try to provide them advice that will help them in shopping around in the hopes that when they do compare, they appreciate our attitude and expertise.

What is your policy regarding patients or customers who ask for a PD measurement? This is another hot topic we cannot get consensus on. Some charge, while others offer it free. My opinion is that it is part of the dispensing service and should either not be offered, or it should be charged for when requested.

 

Gordon A. Bishop, FNAO, ABOC, RO, CEO and president, Sunland Optical, El Paso, Texas

What is your policy regarding people requesting repairs/adjustments on eyeglasses that they have not purchased from you? Sunland Optical's policy is to adjust every pair of glasses that comes through our door whether they are a current customer or not. In today's world we take every opportunity to turn a customer who is not ours into one that is hopefully going to be ours on their next purchase of eyewear. It also allows our staff to interact with the customer to talk about new products, lens design or alternate frame choices, and it gives us the opportunity to make suggestions to help about their vocational eyewear and show them our expertise.

For your regular patients who ask for their prescription, what do you do to encourage them to buy their eyewear from you instead of somewhere else? Again, Sunland's policy is to give a copy of their prescription upon a patient's request. Naturally, this opens a dialogue with them as to why they need it or about what can we do to ensure that we want to keep their business. In most cases they are under the impression that our prices are too high or we can't obtain the product they are requesting. This is usually because no one has compared the price quote they got to the actual products that we are delivering. We always want to compare apples to apples on price quotes. In addition, we want to ensure that we can get almost any product unless it is a proprietary product or high-end licensed brand.

What is your policy regarding patients or customers who ask for a PD measurement? Sunland does not provide PD measurements to our customers as we explain to them when asked that this then puts us in a position that if the glasses are made by someone else and they have problems we could be held responsible. However, again, this allows us to open a dialogue to find out why they need the measurement in the first place and potentially save the customer from leaving our store.

 

Mark Johnson, director of optical services, Virginia Eye Institute, Richmond, Va.

What is your policy regarding people requesting repairs/adjustments on eyeglasses that they have not purchased from you? This is a great opportunity for us to showcase ourselves and tell the patient about all of our services. As long as the repair/adjustment does not require any specially ordered parts the service is at no charge and we just ask them to consider us next time for all their eyecare needs.

For your regular patients who ask for their prescription, what do you do to encourage them to buy their eyewear from you instead of somewhere else? We ask them if there is something they need some more information about to meet their needs and also ask them to compare apples to apples. We provide a brief education about difference in quality and lens types along with a suggestion of what we feel they should consider based on what we know about their lifestyle. A few simple key words that will personalize the conversation and make them feel valued can make the difference.

What is your policy regarding patients or customers who ask for a PD measurement? Currently, we charge a fee of $20, but it is not for just the PD. It is for all measurements needed, adjustments, minor repairs and inspection of the eyewear once the patient receives it. We have found this works out well and is a great opportunity to educate the patient about the advantages of purchasing from us and what we have seen with online eyewear along with informing the patient about our online optical store as an option. About 95 percent of these patients change their mind and decide to purchase with us. Any patient that has paid the $20 charge for our service will be credited the $20 toward a purchase with us within the next 30 days, even if they did purchase online and just want to buy the second pair from us.

 

David H. Hettler, OD, Drs. May & Hettler, Alexandria, Va.

What is your policy regarding people requesting repairs/adjustments on eyeglasses that they have not purchased from you? We do repairs and adjustments for goodwill but will charge for parts used. Every person coming in for a repair is asked if they would like to make an appointment. If you think about the logic, a person walking in for any service did not have a better place to go. This is the perfect opportunity to make a repair for a patient.

For your regular patients who ask for their prescription, what do you do to encourage them to buy their eyewear from you instead of somewhere else? We always give a quote for something as a patient is leaving without purchasing. There is always a chance that this could leave a positive memory.

What is your policy regarding patients or customers who ask for a PD measurement? If we have it, we give it. It's a losing proposition to try to withhold information. Upsetting a current patient is not going to keep them coming back for future sales opportunities.



Back to Newsletter




ALSO IN THIS EDITION... COMMENTS

EYE-TREPRENEURS:

Customized Design Combined With Empowering Employees Make Stanton a Success

DBA Q&A:

Eye-Where: When Patients Take Eyewear into Their Own Hands

THIRD PARTY SYSTEM:

Profit from Your Frame Sales in Today's Managed Care Environment

IN YOUR EMPLOY:

VHR-Advisor—A New Platform and System Help Multi-Location Practices Develop Performance-Based Staff Evaluations

DATAPOINT:

Primary Eyecare Provider Market Share

VM Current Issue VM Current Issue

Copyright © 2014 VisionMonday. All rights reserved.
dba is published by Jobson Medical Information LLC, 100 Avenue of Americas, New York, NY 10013.
To subscribe to other JMI newsletters or to manage your subscription, click here.