Warby Parker may be optometry’s public enemy number one, but David Friedfeld, owner of ClearVision Optical, says optometrists could learn a lot from the company’s booming success.
Las Vegas-Warby Parker may be optometry’s public enemy number one, but David Friedfeld, owner of ClearVision Optical, says optometrists could learn a lot from the company’s booming success.
“Internet sales are not going away,” Friedfeld says. “It’s not going away, and that’s why everyone should love Warby because we can learn from this great company.”
He says that since his father founded ClearVision back in 1949, there have been many innovations in eye care that his father feared would put him out of business. And eyewear sales on the Internet and affordable frames are nothing new-so why does this company strike fear into the hearts of ODs?
Friedfeld shared the story of a time he complimented someone on his glasses, and the man instantly responded that he had purchased them from Warby Parker. But he wasn’t bragging about the price tag-he said that his girlfriend told him he just had to have them.
“How many of us have that kind of word-of-mouth buzz about our own practices?” Friedfeld asks.
While the company does advertise a bit, part of Warby Parker’s success is driven by its customers sharing its positive experiences with those around them.
Warby Parker has also been known for its original promotional events-like the time it took over the New York Public Library during New York Fashion Week in 2011-that create a buzz around its brand.
“In the beginning, these were four guys with a business plan who said, ‘How do we create excitement about the brand?’” says Friedfeld. “That is why I love Warby Parker-they are unbelievably creative.”
Friedfeld recommends taking a page from Warby Parker’s book. Create an event-maybe a popup shop-style setup in your community-and get creative with it!
Name a social media platform, and there’s a good chance Warby Parker isn’t just there, but it’s dominating. Plenty of brands and practices are on Facebook and Twitter, but Warby Parker takes it a step further and has a vibrant presence on other platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, and Instagram, to name a few.
“Not everything is about the sale of eyewear, but it is about creating a community,” says Friedfeld. “If you’re an eyecare provider in small town America or if you were doing this 40 or 50 years ago, you’d be talking about giving good customer service-creating that kind of community for yourself. But they’re doing it in an Internet-savvy way to interact with Internet-savvy individuals.”
And anyone can create that kind of community using social media, says Friedfeld. Not everyone may be comfortable or proficient with all of the varied platforms, but that’s when he recommends hiring someone who is skilled in social media to help you out.
Warby Parker has taken some tips from companies such as Apple and Zappos when it comes to offering the best customer service.
“What’s interesting about Warby Parker is that everyone is in customer service,” says Friedfeld.
While all of the employees have their own role within the company, everyone is first in customer service then in their role. Everyone goes through the same customer service training, regardless of their position.
Friedfeld used an example of a Warby Parker customer who tweeted to the company a series of photos she took using the company’s virtual try-on feature. She wanted someone else’s opinion about which frame looked best on her. A Warby Parker employee tweeted the customer back with a video explaining which pair she liked best on the customer and why. That personal touch likely earned the company a customer for life, says Friedfeld.
And this approach is something that any practice can copy. Regardless of your role within the practice-front desk, tech, doctor, etc.-you can all be in the role of customer service.