While most of my posts have been focusing on growing the dispensary revenues through maximizing integration of the optical shop with your practice or taking a targeted approach to inventory etc. Todays post is about providing white glove level customer service. For starters, I am sure we all agree that regardless of price paid for services or product rendered, we appreciate the difference between good customer service and below average customer service.
Lets take the example of a dinner out…..
How many of us have gone out to dinner and ultimately enjoyed a great food experience tarnished by a lousy waiter who never came back to the table to fill your water glasses or was absent for 20 minutes while you were looking to have your check delivered etc. Experiences like that turn customers into former customers in a hurry. And the saying is that is much harder to get a new customer than to keep the one you have.
So what do we do to make sure that patients using our optical to get glasses have a great experience from a customer service perspective.
1) Use a consultative approach to the sale….Educate your customer on the benefits and real world value to THEIR NEEDS that your glasses recommendation will provide. Bring it home for them and they will build the value judgement in their own eyes
2) Set expectations properly from the beginning. Too often we oversell the glasses capabiliities and that can come back to haunt you with the perception by the customer of poor service. As an example, when selling Transitions, many opticians say that they are lenses that act as clear lenses in dimly lit environments and sunglasses as well. 2 pair for one. They leave that impression with the customer at their own risk. Because we all know that Transitions are not true sunglasses even in the sun…and that they dont activate behind a car glass window etc. If we educate the customer first and tell them what the lenses do and dont do (properly setting the expectations), the customer makes informed decisions on the product and leaves with the product having built in their own mind the value judgement that made them buy.
3) Deliver on time. One of the quickest ways to turn a productive customer into an ex customer is to fail on delivery time. For that reason, set appropriate and realistic expectations on delivery at the time of sale. Dont say we can turn it around in 2 – 3 days if that is not a real possibility. And if you do properly quote a reasonable amount of time for the delivery and something goes wrong….PLEASE IMMEDIATELY CALL YOUR PATIENT…UPDATE THEM ON THE ISSUE AND CHANGE IN EXPECTATIONS ON DELIVERY DATE..And compensate them for the time lost here. Even if your sale margin is tight, a coupon for a discount off their next pair of glasses bought from you or a gift certificate to your store is a reasonable response. You can also consider giving away inexpensive items like large bottle of lens cleaner or potentially ready made readers etc.
4) Always be courteous, respectful and honest with your customer. If something goes wrong with a job, be forthright with the customer and they will understand. If somethign with their eyeglasses is not performing to the customers expectation, encourage them to come in and set an appt with the patient to check the issue and either fix it or discredit it based on the experience. Customers typically are not overly difficult unless we give them a reason to be.
5) And last, always follow up your sale with a courtesy call within 2 weeks of delivering the glasses!!!! This is a must and shows you care about their needs and are interested enough to see whether or not the patient is getting what they want out of their current pair of glasses. I have spoken with other business owners who feel this can open a pandoras box of potentially disgruntled patients to complain about their glasses. I say that is good news not bad. If you customer is harboring resentment on their purchase, wouldn’t you want to know about that and fix it for them? Because if you dont know about their resentment, you can be sure they are not coming back to you and ultimately……REPEAT BUSINESS IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF YOUR PRACTICE.
So high quality customer service is really taking a common sense and adult like approach to taking care of your patient. Do so consistently and you will be rewarded year over year with a healthy and productive repeat customer.