Over the last three months we have been reviewing the Customer Journey through your practice which is one of the topics within the ‘Leadership in Practice’ series of seminars being run by the CIBA VISION ‘Academy For Eyecare Excellence’. The Customer Journey is made up of a series of TouchPoints which are occasions where the patient interacts with the practice and can be influenced in their opinion. This month we look at TouchPoints 7 and 8.
TouchPoint 7. Handover to the Dispensing Optician
Every optometrist should be encouraged to introduce each spectacle or contact lens wearing patient to a dispenser after an eye examination, regardless of the outcome. It is very important to continue the rapport which was started by reception and continued in the consulting room in order to encourage the patient to consider the best eyewear options they can afford. When the handover is done well, the dispenser will be considered by the patient as a professional member of staff, rather than just a sales person.
Introduction to the Dispenser
The introduction should include a summary of the results of the eye examination, along with any dispensing recommendations for spectacles and/or contact lenses the optometrist may have made. This may be a generic recommendation, or the optometrist might request that the dispenser discuss which lens design would be best for them, in addition to explaining any prescription changes. If this conversation takes place in front of the patient it will help the patient understand that the dispenser is a skilled professional. The patient also has a second chance to hear the optometrist’s summary.
Over the last three months we have been reviewing the Customer Journey through your practice which is one of the topics within the ‘Leadership in Practice’ series of seminars being run by the CIBA VISION ‘Academy For Eyecare Excellence’
What to do if a dispenser is not available
There may be times in every practice when the dispenser is busy with another patient. Ideally the patient should still be handed over to someone rather than just being asked to take a seat. The optical assistant could then help the patient look at frames whilst waiting for the dispenser.
TouchPoint 8. Choosing frames and lenses
With an effective handover from the optometrist to dispenser, the patient will be better informed and keen to hear the dispenser discuss eyewear options with them. Most people enjoy buying but the majority dislike being sold to. One way to reduce the patient’s perception of this is to ask questions relating to the way they use their sight and what they want their eyewear to do for them. Patients handled in this way will leave the practice better informed, as well as feeling that any buying decision was their own.
Why people buy
People make buying decisions based on a combination of emotional and logical reasons. For example it makes them feel good (emotion) or it solves a problem (logic). Successful selling is a combination of identifying and satisfying needs. For this to be perceived as professional, it is best to advise and recommend the most appropriate options supported by the benefits of the products, personalised for the individual.
A structured approach will enable a dispenser to do this effectively. The first stage is the introduction to build rapport. The second stage is information gathering, the third stage is product presentation. With stages four and five the dispenser should recommend and advise, and then obtain commitment and finalise the sale.
In reality not all of these stages will run smoothly and the patient may object to the recommendations given. In the majority of cases the price is not the primary objection, but the objection could be due to insufficient motivation by the presentation, concerns that the product will not do what it is claimed it can do for the patient, or inability to make the decision on their own. If these objections are handled sensitively and overcome then an agreement to purchase can still result.
For further information go to: www.customerjourney.co.uk, then click on ‘more’, then ‘Customer Journey’ or email email@example.com.