Think about what gets your attention when you shop. Do you spend more money to upgrade to a newer or better product when you recognize its benefits? Your patients need to approach buying eyewear in the same way.
Help them do so by using scripts in the optical. Optical staff can apply the art of offering multiple pairs of eyeglasses to patients. I call the technique “scripting for seconds,” and it involves three steps.
Previously from Lisa Frye, ABOC, FNAO: How to cultivate teamwork in your practice
Successful scripting starts with the first phone contact with the patient.
When scheduling patients, we ask them to bring all of their eyewear to their appointment. For example, your scheduler might say, “The doctor and technicians will want to read the prescription in your sunglasses as well as any reading, distance, or multifocal eyewear that you currently use.”
If the patient on the phone has only one pair of glasses, the thought process begins of why she has only one pair.
The next step in scripting takes place at the beginning of the exam. The patient lists on the intake form a chief complaint, or she may mention to the technician a problem, such as difficulty in seeing distance or near. However, because our busy lives involve many visual challenges, many other needs may require discussion. Solutions can involve more than one prescription.
Patient education on these visual challenges is necessary to reveal the needs as well as the possible solutions. Patients may not understand that what is accepted as normal (such as excess glare) may in fact be correctable.
When all patient needs are addressed, you open the opportunity to script for seconds.
The final step takes place in the optical. Technicians and eyecare practitioners are able to pave the way by providing the optician with list of needs for the patient. For example, the tech may communicate that the patient is an avid fisherman who would benefit from polarized lenses. Another patient may have ripening cataracts not yet ready for surgery, and premium anti-reflective lenses would help.
Eyecare providers and technicians who share this information in front of the patient during the patient handoff help clarify solutions to the patient. This, in turn, helps justify the optical staff recommendation of multiple pairs to address patient needs.
The reward of making a difference in our patients’ lives through improved vision motivates us to do more to meet all of their visual needs. This means more pairs for optimal visual performance. Multiple solutions involve multiple pairs.
Eyewear dispensing is a balance between identifying needs while offering solutions. In addition, let’s not forget the fashion aspect of eyewear. Some patients are more interested in the latest fashion or technology; they may see eyewear more as a “want” than a “need.”
Related: Modernized lifestyle dispensing
The most crucial aspect of scripting for seconds involves using your ears more than your mouth. By listening, we can better understand the direction needed in dispensing solution eyewear. Hearing their priorities can validate you in your patients’ eyes.
Communicating involves the patient sharing her needs and you translating those needs into beneficial eyewear solutions. If you are too focused on delivering your product spiel and treat every patient identically, you will miss opportunities to present individualized solutions that can be met only with additional pairs of eyewear.
In the optical, I begin my conversation by recapping what the eyecare practitioner shared in the patient handoff. I then ask the patient about other needs or concerns he has. Asking questions followed by patiently listening allows me time to digest what is revealed in the form of needs. From the conversation, I can see the potential solutions and get a feel for which direction to proceed.
During this time, my focus is on the patient in front of me. She needs my undivided attention in order to fully receive the required solutions. I am genuinely interested in what she to say. I am listening to better understand her needs, not simply listening in order to “cookie cutter” back my response.
The best way to develop the idea of multiple pairs is to tell the patient up front that you would love the opportunity to educate him on the latest products. Product examples might include sun protection, the latest computer specialized eyewear, or products that make a digital quality difference in performance.
Let’s say that you have task-specific solutions for a need you heard mentioned. Simply opening the dialogue assumes the need for multiple pairs, which creates a culture for seconds. Try this with every patient every time. You may be surprised at how many patients you can make happy by solving their needs with additional pairs of eyewear.
Some patients respond to the analogy that he likely has more than one pair of shoes and different shoes for different needs. I like to say we get only one set of eyes. We should take care of our eyes, protect them outdoors, and help them visually relax instead of strain.
Put emphasis on safety as well as functionality. If your patient spends many hours a day on the computer, recommend that she shield her eyes with specific computer lenses with blue-light protection. If you have patients who golf, suggest eyewear for safety, provide the perfect tint in sunglasses for viewing the ball on the green, and by all means recommend golf-specific progressive lenses so they can read the scorecard but not interfere with their swing.
Meeting patients’ needs may lead to their purchasing additional visual correction. Let’s not forget we have an option to create a “want” as well. Fashion and fun are synonymous with eyewear trends. The more appealing your dispensary and frames, the more likely patients will be drawn to the colors and styles, and they will want that special pair.
Always discuss benefits before price. One way to make multiple solutions affordable and appealing is to offer a savings for volume purchases. You may want to consider offering a second or multiple pair coupon savings or discounts.
Think back on times you were motivated to offer multiple pairs. Remember that the patient is the primary focus; we want to satisfy their every need. Think of the needs you uncover, find solutions, and demonstrate with multiple-pair solutions. Script for seconds by practicing, practicing, practicing until more than one is the norm.