When Competent Isn’t Good Enough

The Optical Journal - Optical News With Independent Views

What level of service do you expect when you drive through McDonalds versus sitting down at a The Palm? Or when you shop Wal-Mart instead of Nordstrom? When you purchase a Kia opposed to a Mercedes Benz?

When you purchase something for $10 you can find elsewhere for $100, you really don’t expect much. On the other hand, when you purchase something for $100 you can find elsewhere for $10, you expect a lot!

This undoubtedly applies to the optical industry. If your practice is one that sells 2 pair for $99, your patients and customers don’t really expect much. They want eyewear they can see out of, with lenses that match the prescription, and that’s about it. To them, your product is a commodity, not much different than a gallon of gasoline from station A vs station B. If on the other hand the average cost of a pair of eyeglasses in your practice is $500, then you are selling much more than two sticks, two circles, and two pieces of plastic to see out of. You are selling so much more than just a commodity.

When you sell something for $100 you can find elsewhere for $10, you are selling your quality, your selection, your experience, your expertise and above all your service. Take a step back from your practice and look at your processes and people from start to finish with a fresh eye. If you are too close to see the forest for the trees, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to do so. What we might think of good service is in point of fact just competent service.

Go to the best five star restaurant in town and keep an eye on every aspect of the experience. Do they serve your dinner on a paper plate? Hardly. Why then do you dispense a finished job out of a plastic lab tray? Do they throw the food on the plate or make art in how each ingredient is laid out? The food wouldn’t taste any different, but you sure get the feeling they know what they are doing and I would bet psychologically the food tastes better when presented better. By the same token, wouldn’t dispensing a pair of $500 eyeglasses artfully do the same thing in psychologically making those eyeglasses even better? Your 5 start restaurant goes even further though. They really strive to make you feel like YOU are the most important VIP to dine there all day. They really try to make you feel special. It is that company wide effort of providing excellence that makes people talk you up and come back.

You and your people may know eyewear inside and out. You may know the optical advantages and disadvantages of every lens on the market. You could be the kings and queens of competency. Or are you the kings and queens of great service however? Do you go that extra step to make each and every customer/patient feel as if they are the best thing about your day? I will tell you this, in just writing this out, I realized I am not doing that to all my clients and will redouble my efforts to treat my clients that way. I want to be more than the king of competent…..what about you?

Daniel Feldman, is a co-founder to the Visionaries Group  an optical consulting firm specializing in helping eye care practices achieve success at visionariesgroup.com or on Facebook..

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