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Don’t Do It!

44 things an ECP should never do.

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In life, there are a few hard and fast rules. Things that you should just never do. Most are pretty well known, like “Never leave your dog (or baby!) in a locked car on a hot summer day.” … “Never drink and drive.” … or “Never ask a woman her age.” A few more of my favorites are “Never lose hope.” … “Never argue with someone who believes their own lies.” … and “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.”

We wanted to know what those hard and fast rules are in eyecare — What should an ECP never do? We asked, you answered. Maybe with this list of rules we can save a less savvy colleague from making one of these disastrous mistakes.

1. Never make a face where a customer can see you. That’s one nice thing about wearing a mask; if you make a funny face your customer really can’t see it. You could even stick your tongue out at them right in front of their face and they don’t know! It’s kind of fun.” — Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL

2. Never tell patients they will develop an issue in a certain time frame, i.e. cataracts in the next 10 years.” — Susan Holt, Od, Coastal North Vision Care, Myrtle Beach, Sc

3. Never recommend a product or service based upon anything other than the welfare of the patient and what best fills their needs.” — Pablo E. Mercado, Optima Eye Care, Alpharetta, Ga

4. Never sell one product and dispense another.” — Verbelee Nielsen-Swanson, Oxford Eyes, Orlando, Fl

5. Never ask a customer ‘Do you want….’ That leads to the inevitable response of ‘How much is it?’ and sticker shock.” — Nikki Griffin, Eyestyles Optical And Boutique, Oakdale, Mn

6. Never leave a display with empty slots.” — Leisa Lauer, Westcliff Optometry, Newport Beach, Fl

7. Never ask for a sale, always assume it. We are here to educate people, not overwhelm them with too much unnecessary information.” — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, Co

8. An ECP should never lower to a level of disrespect with a customer. Remain professional at all times.” — Danielle Doniver, Heritage Optical, Detroit, Mi

9. Never start taking vision plans. If you never start, you’ll never have to find a way to stop. There are too many ways to stand out without buying in to the ‘you can’t’ or ‘you have to’ mentality.” — Blake Hutto, OD, Family Vision Care, Alma, Ga

10. “Never ask closed questions.” — Amber Fritsch, OD, Precision Eye Care, Mt. Juliet, Tn

11. “Never assume the patient doesn’t want something new and that they don’t want to get it from you.” — Douglas Holle, Od, Sunset Eye Care, San Angelo, Tx

12. Never give a range on fees; the patient will always remember the lowest figure and hold you to that.” — Robert M. Easton Jr., OD, FAAO Oakland Park, Fl

13. Never leave faded or dated POP displays from years ago in windows or optical shops. The 1990s need their Hushpuppies back.” — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ

14. Never give medical advice by phone or internet without seeing the person. Never speculate on what could be wrong with them!” — Billy Isgett, Eyecare of Florence, Florence, Sc

15. “Never sling mud at competitors; this industry is very small.” — Ron Catterson, Clear View Optix, The Villages, fL

16. “Never advertise free eye exams.” — Tammy Warmouth, Main Optical, Luzerne, PA

17. Never assume a customer understands what’s going on. Just because the gal has ‘always worn glasses,’ or the senior citizen ‘wants progressives’ doesn’t mean they actually understand anything.” — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID

18. Never slow your frame buying until after the beginning of the year. That way you’re not paying for frames at a time when cash flow is low.” — Miguel Rodriguez, Fava & Maria Eye Associates, Lebanon, PA

19. Never make a patient feel pushed into purchasing something they don’t need. That’s why patients lose trust in places they’ve gone before. It’s our job to educate and show them how things may work to meet their needs. If we’re not doing that patients can feel like we’ve ‘sold them something they don’t need’ without us even realizing it!” — Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI

20. Never rush a patient. — Richard Frankel, OD, Atlantic Cape Eyecare, Wildwood, NJ

21. Never say ‘You’re not eligible for your benefits until…’ Never miss an opportunity to say ‘I recommend….’ Never let a patient leave the office without asking if there is anyone else in the family that is ready to schedule their eye exam.” — Ann-Marie Weaver, Optimal Eye Care, Lewis Center, OH

22. Never wear cheap, ill-fitting, broken glasses or sunglasses.” — Amina Ebrahim, OD, D Vision Eyecare, Allen, TX

23. Never tell a patient the frame looks great on them when it doesn’t, just to make a high end sale. Always be honest.” — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH

24. Never wear glasses you bought somewhere else!” — Star Taylor, Richens Eye Center, St. George, UT

25. Never comment on how strong a patient’s Rx is. They know. It’s not like they went to bed and woke up like that.” — Kim Hilgers, Monson Eyecare Center, Owatonna, MN

26. Never talk price from the chair.” — Lindsey Pulford, Insights Eyecare, Manhattan, KS

27. Never say no. If you absolutely have to say “no,” use different words.” — Dorothy Reynolds, Optical Alternatives, Milford, CT

28. Never ask a question you don’t want to know the answer to.” — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI

29. Never treat elderly patients like children.” — Judith Whitelaw, Dr. Gregory Char, OD, Orange, OR

30. Never use acronyms or trade related terms when talking to patients, i.e., ‘Your Rx changed both a quarter diopter in sphere and cyl. In addition, your new Trivex lenses will include AR and UV coatings to protect your eyes from AMD.’” — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA

31. Never, when looking at a patient, say out loud, “Oh Lord, what the heck is that!?!” — Michael Davis, OD, Opti-Care, Eldersburg, MD

32. Never say, as someone walks into the optical, ‘Are you looking for glasses today?’” — Colleen Galanti, Pascarella Eye Care & Contact Lenses, Newtown, PA

33. Never ask, ‘How many boxes of contacts do you want?’” — Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

34. Never over-promise. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN

35. “Never bad-mouth another doctor.” — Ivy Elaine Frederick, OD, New Castle, PA

 

36. Never assume how much someone has to spend. I’ve had people in ‘shabby’ clothing drop $800 without batting an eye, and people wearing haute couture worry about their $15 copay clearing the bank.” — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY

37. Never have a disagreement with a patient in front of other patients. Always take them back to an office or room to discuss.” — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA

38. Never be disrespectful to a patient.” — Vittorio Mena, OD, Optical Academy, Little Ferry, NJ

39. Never use the phrase ‘Anti-Glare’ when referring to anti-reflective coating. If they want anti-glare, sell them a polarized lens.” — Steve Geis, Metro Eye, Milwaukee, WI

40. Never say ‘cheaper,’ ‘blurry area’ or suggest they go anywhere else for their eyecare, unless it is so specific you just cannot cater to it.” — Chris Dudley, Lake Eye/Precision Optical, Wildwood, FL

41. Never assume that people aren’t going to pay what they owe.” — Josh Bladh, Dr Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA

42. Never, ever, ever tell a woman that a potential frame choice makes them look old!” — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI

43. Never agree that a patient is getting old. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, Tx

44. “Never ask if a patient is pregnant! It only takes one time for you to remember this tip.” — Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL

Having built a career in service journalism, Dee has been covering the eyecare industry for over a decade. As editor-in-chief of INVISION Magazine, she is passionate about telling independent ECPs stories and can be reached directly at [email protected]

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