Remember, “The devil is in the details.” An optical buyer can quickly go from excitement about a purchase to distress when the order is not ready on time or if the new eyeglasses are flawed in any way.
Dispensing Solutions By Arthur De Gennaro
Just because a shopper becomes a buyer (makes a purchase) does not mean the sale is over. A lot of things can happen after the shopper agrees to become a buyer. Let’s look at some post-closing issues.
All of us have purchased something and almost immediately questioned the decision. This is known as “buyer’s remorse.” In some cases, the buyer is so convinced the decision was a bad one that he or she will call to cancel the order or the eyeglasses are returned for a refund.
Customers who are completely convinced that their purchase decision was a good one will not return it. How can you limit the number of customers who cancel or return their purchase? The answer is to deliver a customer experience that is outstanding. Some retail consultants would use the word “legendary.”
Creating such a customer experience is hard work. It requires scrutinizing and re-engineering all of the elements that make up the customer experience. This is one additional reason for following all of the steps in the selling process and doing them as expertly as possible.
At the moment customers question their purchase, what you said and did during the sales presentation will play over in their mind. That is the moment of truth for your work, not the fact that the customers said, “yes.”
If the customers received exceptional, knowledgeable, personalized service that resulted in them getting just what they were looking for, they are more likely not to return the purchase. This suggests that you should be considering what you can do to create and consistently deliver such a legendary experience.
We humans are often insecure. We derive much of our self-image from the positive reinforcement we receive from those around us. The more we trust a person, the more valuable the reinforcement. This is why reinforcing the buyer’s decision to make the purchase is a productive selling technique.
Simply reiterating the benefits of the frame, lenses, and add-ons allows the buyer mentally to double check those decisions. If the customer questions the decision later the double check should help minimize buyer’s remorse, because the buyer has already made this mental review with you.
When customers pick up their new eyeglasses the last thing many opticians say is, “If you have any problems with your new eyeglasses or if they need adjusting please feel free to come back to see me.”
This is negative programming. Essentially, the optician is telling the customer that he or she could potentially have problems with their new eyeglasses. This programs the customer to be on the lookout for problems. Although you are probably trying to express your willingness to be available and help, I doubt this is the outcome for which you are looking.
A better way is to program the customer positively. Instead of talking about potential problems, ask, “Would you be willing to do me a favor? I know you will get a lot of compliments on your new eyeglasses. Would you be willing to stop by or call to let me know how you are enjoying your new eyeglasses?”
In this instance the customer will be programmed to watch for compliments-compliments he or she will surely get. Each time a compliment is received, the purchasing decision will be reinforced and the customer will be reassured that the decision was a good one.
Businesses are built one transaction and one customer at a time. Each successful transaction fosters another, and each enthusiastic customer tells his or her friends, which builds the business overall and over time. Successful opticians know this; so does every successful businessperson I know. Every successful transaction is a chance to build your business.
When customers have had an extremely positive experience they are likely to tell others. Programming customers to refer you to other potential customers will encourage them to do so.
Doing so is as easy as asking. Saying something as simple as, “Mr. Arthur, I have enjoyed working with you. If you have enjoyed working with me, I would appreciate it you would mention me to any of your friends or family who you feel I can help at this time.”
Handing the customer a few of your business cards will give him or her something to pass along.
Notice I did not say “. . . if you have enjoyed working with us.” That is because the customer did not do business with your dispensary; he or she did business with you and you are a unique commodity. If customers want your superior level of customer service they must get it from you. In essence, you are your dispensary’s “secret weapon.”
As basic as it may seem, this simple technique of asking for referrals can dramatically increase a dispensary’s business. It goes without saying that the more skillful the optician, the more likely it is that he or she will build a significant personal clientele. As a sometimes recruiter I can attest to the fact that some opticians have loyal customers who follow them from job to job. That is a wonderful asset for whatever practice for which they work.
From an operations standpoint, what happens after the sale is known as order fulfillment. In other words, your optical dispensary must have the eyeglasses fabricated and deliver them to the customer on time, as promised.
There is a long list of things that can go wrong with this process-too long to review here. Since the customer has already made a purchase, suffice it to say that this is your game to lose at this point. All of the hard work you did to gain the buyer’s trust can be ruined by having flawed logistical processes in place or by just not following through.
Remember, “The devil is in the details.” A buyer can quickly go from excitement about a purchase to distress when the order is not ready on time or if the new eyeglasses are flawed in any way.
If you have not done so lately, I suggest you create a map of your order fulfillment processes. This begins with order entry into your dispensary’s management system and ends with the finished eyeglasses being delivered to the patient, on time, after passing rigorous, quality-assurance testing. One process I recommend is to check the status of each job each day. Be sure you are getting updates from your laboratory every day.
Billing errors are irksome to customers. Not filing their managed vision care claim or filing it incorrectly signals to the customer a certain lack of attention to details. I cannot think of a practice that would want that reputation connected to its brand and image.
We have come to the end of this series on the selling process. It is my sincere hope that you have found these articles helpful and that they will contribute in some way to your continued success. I look forward to your comments.
Arthur De Gennaro is president of Arthur De Gennaro & Associates LLC, an ophthalmic practice management firm that specializes in optical dispensary issues. De Gennaro is the author of the book The Dispensing Ophthalmologist. He can be reached at 803/359-7887, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the company’s Web site, www.adegennaro.com. He maintains a blog at www.adgablog.wordpress.com.