Help your patients out of their optical comfort zone

February 9, 2017

One Sunday afternoon while at our local mall, I ran into Mary, a wonderful lady who has been a loyal patient for many years. We exchanged pleasantries, she asked about my family, and I inquired about her new grandchild.


One Sunday afternoon while at our local mall, I ran into Mary, a wonderful lady who has been a loyal patient for many years. We exchanged pleasantries, she asked about my family, and I inquired about her new grandchild.

Mary then became quiet and looked around, as if about to tell me her deepest secret. Softly, she said that while attending the wedding of her best friends’ daughter, she noticed her friend’s unique eyeglasses.

“The color was a beautiful fuchsia with rhinestone trimmings,” she said.

Previously from Tami Hagemeyer: Help! My team is falling apart

Afraid of hurting my feelings, she went on to clarify that although she had purchased several pair of eyeglasses from me, it had never occurred to her try unique styles that were not similar to the brown metal semi-rimless eyeglass frames she had worn for years.

I remembered her last appointment-she had seemed rushed, like there were other places to be. She asked me to order the same frames that she was currently wearing because she didn’t have time to look at frames that day. So without much thought, I had duplicated her current frames with her new prescription, just as she requested.

Another opportunity

Monday morning, Mary called to schedule her annual eye exam. She again mentioned her best friend’s beautiful fuchsia glasses and that she eagerly anticipated a new style for herself.

I was thrilled that she wanted to try new styles, but I felt that I had somehow let her down. It is my responsibility to suggest and encourage change, or at least urge her to try a few diverse frame styles and remove her from her optical frame style comfort zone.

Related: 5 zones of your practice that need TLC

 

When Mary arrived for her scheduled appointment, she made sure she had no time limitations and was able to relax and appreciate the process. It was an enjoyable, stressâ€Âfree visit for both of us. Every professional on my team, including the prescribing doctor, became involved in the fun, giving their opinions and ideas for Mary’s new eyeglass frames.

In the end, Mary purchased her most unique eyewear ever-she chose a beautiful semi-rimless frame that is a striking shade of teal with dark and light gray crystals. Mary also found a second pair, an amazing sapphire blue plastic frame. Both frames have provided Mary with a new confidence, knowing her updated look is both gorgeous and modern. Mary will tell her family and friends where she got her fresh new look. And I will receive countless referrals that guarantee practice growth.

Doing our job

When I reflect on patients, including Mary, who come back to us year after year, I realize that frame/lens duplication happens often.

Related: How to prevent no-shows in your practice

It almost always occurs when a patient is in a hurry and does not want to take time to look at new frame styles. When patients are under time constraints, it may be beneficial for us to suggest they return at a more convenient time. Or, with proper security documentation, we may encourage them to take a few frames home. Either will end that sense of making a rushed decision.

Patients arrive in our frame room with a mood of apprehension or excitement. A patient can be filled with dread over what frame style to choose. Her apprehension can be linked to the perceived monetary value because the expense can feel overwhelming. But sometimes the frame process itself feels like a chore, and the notion of physical change is just too much for some patients to handle.

We must put our patient’s mind at ease if we sense anxiety. Help her to understand the product’s value by discussing how features will benefit her vision. Explain why the product has been recommended to her.

Of course, doing so requires lenses and frame knowledge. New products are constantly changing the face of frame styling and optical dispensing, so it’s important to stay on top of what’s new in fashion and technology.

Try to keep the visit relaxed and fun. Allow patients to try a few silly frames, something they would never purchase. Comfort will start to creep in on anxious patients. Once they start to relax and smile, it is time to show them frames that may be the exact styles they never thought they would like. It is up to us to dictate and maintain the upbeat mood of frame styling. 

Read more from Tami Hagemeyer here