A successful optician develops high quality relationships with their patients over several years. Of course, any long-term customer relationship can have its challenges — and as an optician, it’s your responsibility to listen closely to your patient, consider their concerns, and offer intelligent recommendations that meet their needs. It’s also your job to protect your reputation and engender loyalty in doing so.
Lindsey: Your Persnickety Patient
Consider Lindsey: She’s been your patient for a while now. When she first came into your office five years ago, she had a -2.00 D prescription for distance in both eyes — and thusly, you gave her a standard plastic 1.5 index lens, with anti-reflective (AR) coating.
She didn’t return until four years later, reporting to you that she was experiencing problems with her near vision. Upon examination, her prescription had changed to -2.50 D in both eyes and +1.00 D for near vision in both eyes.
However, in your interactions, she indicated that cost was a concern for her. Normally, you’d have recommended progressive lenses, but since they’re a little more expensive, you offered her a pair of bifocals. But being the discriminating customer she is, Lindsey wasn’t fond of the visible line in the lenses that separates each field of vision. And so you recommended two pairs of glasses: One for distance and one for near vision. And thankfully, she said yes!
However, your job isn’t done yet!
Once she chooses a frame, it’s time to figure out which specific lens types to use for distance and near-vision, respectively. You decide to give her 1.6 AR SV lenses for distance. And for near-vision, since her prescription was relatively low, you provided her with 1.5 AR SV lenses. At the end of the visit, she left with two pairs of AR glasses — both nicer in appearance than bifocals and suitable for her specific vision needs.
Of course, this isn’t the last you’ve seen of Lindsey: One year later, she visits your office for the third time. She seems slightly more frustrated than she did the last time you saw her. As a mother, wife, a paralegal at a respected law firm, and a fitness enthusiast, she finds herself changing between her distance and near-vision glasses more often than she’d like. “It is not an option for me,” she says. “It’s annoying. And I need to change it.”
As she describes her frustrations to you, it becomes apparent that she might be looking to blame you for your recommendation from the previous year. You think to yourself, “I explained this last time — I had no choice but to offer her two pairs of glasses.”
But of course, as her optician, it’s your responsibility to cater to her needs. With a long-term patient unhappy with your last offering, how can you avoid being blamed and help Lindsey?
Let us know your thoughts and we will share ours in our next blog.