Connect with us

Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson: Don’t Wait To Delight

mm

Published

on

Management advice from Rebecca Johnson

How to surprise and charm your customer (and draw them back to do more business with you)

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 edition of INVISION.


How many times have you said, “I know the fuel light is on, but I’m going to wait until I run out of gas to fill up the tank”? Sounds silly, right? Most of us stop at the nearest gas pump when the light comes on to avoid the unpleasant consequence of our car sputtering to a stop.

Now take this same thought into the optical dispensary. Too often, we mistakenly think that as long as no one is complaining, everyone must be happy. But just as you can’t put your car on autopilot — at least not yet! — you need to be proactive about customer service. Here are some take-charge tips on how to delight everyone lucky enough to do business with you.

Advertisement

Find out the customer’s needs before you begin telling him what you can do for him. While this seems obvious, I often observe opticians who dive into a sales presentation about the latest lens technology without any knowledge of how the customer will be using his eyewear. Asking questions is how you build a trusting relationship with your customer — and learn what he truly needs, too.

Anticipate problems before they happen. Keep track of promised deliveries and notify the customer if the order will arrive later than expected. Schedule eyewear dispensing for times when the doctor’s schedule is lighter to avoid wait times. Discuss complaints at staff meetings and brainstorm ways to avoid a repeat situation.

Do the unexpected. Little surprises produce big smiles. Search out opportunities to please customers when they least expect it. Take a photo of your patient in her new glasses and email it to her so she can share it with her friends. Comment on her nice sweater and give her a complimentary lens cloth in the same color. Pick up a boxed cupcake or a balloon to celebrate a child’s first pair of glasses. Beat your own delivery promise. Send a handwritten thank-you note. Give a Starbucks card to someone who had to wait longer than usual for his eyewear. Be creative and dream up your own day-brighteners.

Invite complaints instead of dodging them. Most customers won’t complain to the seller when they are less than satisfied with a product. They’ll just make their next purchase elsewhere. Make a follow-up phone call within 10 days of dispensing new eyewear. It demonstrates a sincere interest in the customer, and it invites your client to let you know if she isn’t happy with her purchase. Don’t wait for a bad Yelp review to find out that you have an unhappy customer.

Keep in touch. Many buyers have a great experience, but once the purchase is made, the relationship comes to a screeching halt. Keeping in touch is simple to do and should not always be about advertising. Notice an engagement announcement or a sports write-up for one of your customers in the newspaper? Cut it out and mail it to him. See a photo of a celebrity on the red carpet looking great in a frame that one of your patients recently purchased? Let your customer know who shares her great taste. Send a handwritten birthday card. Yes, you need to be selective about how you stay in touch, but in today’s impersonal world, most people will appreciate the fact that you thought of them.

So go ahead. Set yourself apart — then watch your customers smile and tell others about the great experience they had with your business.

Advertisement

REBECCA JOHNSON is a 30-year veteran in the eyecare business. She is the executive director of Business Consultative Services for GPN and owner of EyeTrain4You, an ophthalmic staff training and development company. Contact her at rebecca@eyetrain4you.com.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

SPONSORED BY SAFILO

Max Mara —True Elegance in Eyewear

Whether energizing the classics or creating imaginative new silhouettes, Max Mara designs dynamic eyewear for today’s woman. The Fall/Winter 2018 collections continue the company’s sartorial heritage with eyewear that effortlessly blends fashion with innovation to create elegant, timeless designs. Be inspired—watch the 2018 Fall/Winter Collection video!

Promoted Headlines

Want more INVISION? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Comment

Rebecca Johnson

Here’s Proof That Knowledge Does Not Equal Understanding

mm

Published

on

There is a Youtube video called “The Backwards Brain Bicycle” (invmag.us/01173) that demonstrates what happens when you mechanically change one thing on a bicycle — on this bike when you turn the handlebars left, the wheel turns right and vice versa. It sounds like a simple change. Knowing that the wheel turns the opposite way means all you need to do is turn the wheel the opposite direction from the way that you want to go, right? Wrong! As you will see, once your brain is wired one way, it is very hard to change it. Knowledge does not equal understanding.

What can a business owner or manager learn from this? Just because you tell your staff to do something differently (knowledge) does not mean that they will easily make the change (understanding). For example, you decide to go “all in” with sunwear sales. You order product and create a Sun Center. You hold a staff meeting to discuss the role of each person in supporting sunwear sales. The receptionist will ask every patient to bring in all of their eyewear, including sunglasses. The technician will discuss the importance of protecting against UV rays during pretesting. The contact lens tech will put sunglasses on every patient and walk them to a window to demonstrate the need for them with contact lenses. The optician will show the patient a polarized lenses demo and pick at least two sunglass options for them to try. At the end of this meeting, you assume, after sharing this knowledge with your team, they’ll immediately adapt and you’ll see a great return on your investment. The next month, you see a slight increase in sales, only to return  to square one in month two. Does this sound familiar?

Think about the bicycle experiment. It took eight months of daily practice to rewire an engineer’s brain. Even once he’d adapted to it, any disturbance, like a cell phone ringing, threw his brain off track again. Knowing this phenomenon, a smart business owner would create a complete, long-term strategy around the change that includes multiple sessions of role-playing, discussion and rewards. He’d bring in outside training, like frame reps, on a regular basis as a confidence builder for staff. He’d also be sure to place total focus on the change before moving onto something else. For instance, implementing new software at the same time he’s trying to build sunwear sales would be counterproductive.

I also found it interesting how quickly his son learned to ride the backward bicycle. I believe this shows that the longer someone has been doing something one way, the more difficult it is for the brain to rewire to an alternative method. This is particularly important for ECPs to remember when presenting change to a long-term employee.


Rebecca Johnson is a motivational ophthalmic staff trainer, a nationally recognized speaker and author, and director of training for Eyefinity. Her honors include the AOA Paraoptometric Special Service Award and VisionMonday’s “Most Influential Women.” Contact her at rebecca.johnson@eyefinity.com

Continue Reading

Columns

Nip Staff Negativity in the Bud With These Positive Solutions

mm

Published

on

Nothing kills staff morale more quickly than unaddressed problems. Interpersonal quarrels, performance issues and hostilities between departments will have a negative impact on employee motivation and enthusiasm. Thinking that the problem will go away on its own is as counterproductive as putting spoiled milk back into the refrigerator. Negativity is contagious, and the only way to keep it from spreading is to deal with it immediately. Additionally, ignoring a problem quickly leads to lost respect for the leader, resulting in ineffective leadership.

The best way to control negativity is to keep it from rearing its ugly head in the first place. Below are a few tips that will preserve positivity in the workplace.

  • Be fair.
  • Be consistent.
  • Meet with each staff member on a regular basis.
  • Act quickly to nip negativity at the bud.
  • Recognize accomplishments.
  • Provide strategic framework, i.e. team vision and mission.

Let’s take a look at a three examples of situations that can quickly become toxic to staff morale:

  • The biller told the optician that she is tired of fixing his mistakes and that he needs to do a better job getting the right information in the computer. The optician is very offended as he believes that he rarely makes a mistake and the biller is making too much of an issue of it when he does. 
  • One technician is convinced that she does the majority of pretesting because the other technician spends too much time chatting with the patient.
  • The front desk staff feels that the technicians should help more with answering the phone. The technicians complain that the front desk staff takes too long to get the chart ready, which creates bottlenecks in the back office patient flow.

Now, let’s discuss solutions:

  • Schedule a sit-down meeting with the optician, biller and yourself, stating the purpose of the meeting is to determine what each person can do to assist the other in making their job easier. During the meeting, allow the two individuals to come to an agreement with as little involvement from you as possible. 
  • Get the facts first. If the chatty technician is creating extra workload, have a discussion with her. Compliment her on wanting to be friendly with the patients, but explain that lengthy conversations keep patients waiting longer than they should. Show her that you value her ability to be friendly and sociable by asking her greet patients at the door during the next trunk show or other event.
  • Give each group a chance to view the other job from a different perspective. Make time for each front desk member to spend the day following a technician and let each technician spend a day at the front desk.

REBECCA JOHNSON is a motivational ophthalmic staff trainer, a nationally recognized speaker and author, and director of training for Eyefinity. Her honors include the AOA Paraoptometric Special Service Award and VisionMonday’s “Most Influential Women.” Contact her at rebecca.johnson@eyefinity.com

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 edition of INVISION.

Continue Reading

Rebecca Johnson

Is Your Practice Moving Forward … Or Stuck in the Status Quo?

mm

Published

on

I love the story about the little boy who fell out of bed in the the night. Hearing his screams, the mother ran in and asked, “What happened?” Through tears the little guy replied, “I guess I stayed too close to where I got in.”

I liken the little’s boy’s answer to something that many optometrists tend to do: stay too close to where they got in. In other words, status quo and business as usual becomes a safe spot to hang out in. Yes, change is difficult; however, change must happen for a practice to keep from becoming irrelevant.

Let’s try a quiz to determine if you are staying too close to where you got in.

1. When was the last time you remodeled all or a part of your practice?
  • a. Within the last year (3 points)
  • b. Between two and four years (2 points)
  • c. Over four years (1 point)
  • d. I love my mauve and blue décor and silk flowers from the ’90s! (0 points)
2. How often do you move your frame collections?
  • a. Monthly (3 points)
  • b. Quarterly (2 points)
  • c. Yearly (1 point)
  • d. How would I find anything if I moved my frame collections? (0 points)
3. How often do you post on social media?
  • a. Regularly on Facebook and Instagram (3 points)
  • b. Regularly on Facebook (2 points)
  • c. Monthly on Facebook (1 point)
  • d. My patients don’t use social media. (0 points)
4. What’s up with your dispensary technology?
  • a. We use digital measuring technology with every patient and promote it as a wow factor. (3 points)
  • b. We use digital measuring technology with every patient, but do not discuss it as a wow factor. (2 points)
  • c. We have access to digital measuring technology, but the opticians complain that it takes too long to use, so it is not used much. (1 point)
  • d. We take measurements by hand and a Sharpie. (0 points)
5. How often do you hold staff meetings?
  • a. Weekly, plus stand up meetings every morning (3 points)
  • b. Weekly (2 points)
  • c. Monthly (1 point)
  • d. We don’t have time for staff meetings. (0 points)
How’d you do?

15 points: You have got it going on and your bank account shows it!

10-14 points: You are average, and who wants to be average?

5-9 points: You are opening a wide door for your competition.

0-4 points: You might as well get back into bed.

So how’d you do? If you scored less than 14 points, then review the quiz. It is full of simple ideas to refresh your practice. Here’s a hint: If it has a value of three points, you should probably be doing it. Staying in the status quo may feel safe and easy, but you are at risk of your competition pulling the sheets out from under you.


REBECCA JOHNSON is a motivational ophthalmic staff trainer, a nationally recognized speaker and author, and Director of Training for Eyefinity. Her honors include the AOA Paraoptometric Special Service Award and VisionMonday’s “Most Influential Women.” Contact her at rebecca.johnson@eyefinity.com.

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 edition of INVISION.

 

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Most Popular