Lab Advisor


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Dollars and Sense

Building Customer Loyalty in a Price Loyal Environment

You spend a lot of time, money, and resources cultivating a relationship with a customer. You send your representatives (and yourself) in to understand the customer’s needs, develop solutions to their problems, educate them and their staff. You hold promotions to benefit them. And, as a thank you for all of the effort, they send their work to someone else who offers a lower price. You can’t take this personally. It’s just business, after all.

Maintaining Customer LoyaltyWhy not develop ways to retain their business by building their patients’ loyalty to their practice. Find which organizations the doctor or their practice belong, i.e. professional, religious, recreational, and charities, or even larger sources of the practice’s patient base. Then offer an incentive to the individuals in those organizations that will benefit them individually, benefit the organization, and bring prestige for the doctor and loyalty to their practice. The incentive should only be awarded through the doctor, providing loyalty to the lab, and the level of the incentive should be awarded based on the level of work the practice sends.

For example, you determine that your doctor is very active in a specific charity. You offer an incentive to others who are active in the charity for purchasing eyewear from the doctor. The doctor would send the work to your laboratory, and then the lab would make a donation to the charity in the doctor’s name or else sponsors an event in the doctor’s name for the charity. This could boost the doctor’s prestige among his peers, bring new patients to the doctor, generate more work for the lab and increase the doctor’s loyalty to your lab, all in support of a good cause.

—Jason A. Meyer is senior vice president, HPC Puckett & Company. Based in San Diego, Calif., HPC Puckett & Company specializes in mergers and acquisitions of wholesale optical laboratories. You can send comments or questions about this article or any other Dollars & Sense articles to Jason Meyer at [email protected].


Lab Notes


OLAOLA Steps Up Merger Talks With The Vision Council

Plans for the proposed merger between the Optical Laboratories Association (OLA) and The Vision Council dominated the OLA’s annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. Click here for details. To view a slide show of the events that took place at the OLA Annual Meeting, including the Hall of Fame honorees, Awards of Excellence winners and views from the exhibit floor and education sessions, click here.

At the OLA’s annual meeting, Ed Greene, chairman of the Vision Council, above left, with OLA executive director Bob Dziuban, above center, and Greg Chavez, vice president, member services for the Vision Council, discussed plans to merge their organizations and co-locate their meetings.

Transitions Names Finalists for 19th Annual Lab of the Year Award

Transitions Optical has announced the three finalists for the 2009 U.S. Transitions Lab of the Year Award. Hirsch Optical, Corp., Toledo Optical Laboratory, Inc. and Winchester Optical Company have been recognized for their year-long dedication to growing their businesses with Transitions lenses. Following tradition, the winner will be announced on Feb. 2 during the 14th annual Transitions Academy at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort in Orlando Fla.

Brothers' OpticalBrothers’ Optical Relocates and Expands

Brothers’ Optical Laboratory, a major independent wholesale lab in southern California, recently finished its relocation from Anaheim, Calif. to a new, 21,000 square foot headquarters in Orange, Calif. (pictured above) The facility includes a new Satisloh production line consisting of a V-Pro generator, ES3 industrial edger and a G4 automated cleaner/backside hard coating machine. The facility also has a meeting room for customers who want to learn about new products and practice techniques used in their offices.

US OpticalUS Optical Implements New Filtering Technology

US Optical recently installed a new, custom-made filtering system at its East Syracuse, N.Y. facility. The system, designed and produced by Filtertech, allows larger solids to be used as a filter aid for the removal of finer particulate. US Optical co-owner Ron Cotran reports that the new filter system is continuously providing very clean coolant to the lens generators. The polish filters require minimal cleaning, production rates have increased and cutting tool life has been extended. Coolant life has been greatly extended and has not required change out since the system was put on line.

Focus On

Kim ScheidlerKim Scheidler @ Sutherlin Optical

In his position as director of education at Sutherlin Optical in Kansas City, Mo., Kim Scheidler provides training for partner accounts, staff, and state and regional optical organizations. He also works closely with customers to troubleshoot their dispensing problems.

Scheidler started at Sutherlin as a sales rep in 1990, and then began Sutherlin University full-time a few years later. On a typical day in his educator role, Scheidler teaches optical students from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Watching the ‘aha’ moments as a student begins to learn and understand is beyond any other feeling,” said Scheidler. Topics he covers with his students include lens material, coating and measurements, adjustments and presentation techniques.

As special projects director, Scheidler is responsible for organizing and coordinating events, and communications with accounts. Some of most recent highlights were coordinating a trip for 60 members to attend Vision Expo West, helping plan the annual Sutherlin Optical golf tournament, and creating slideshows.

Scheidler began his optical career at Benson Optical and then later managed offices for both ophthalmology and optometry practices. He also worked as an industry consultant and trainer for several years before joining Sutherlin.

Scheidler described the Sutherlin Optical company culture as “an exclusive world within itself. The trust and freedom given by the management is wonderful.” —Amanda Barry

LabTalk Spotlight   December 2009

December LabTalkSales Training for Your Accounts
For most businesses, training employees is essential. But optical labs get hit with a double whammy. Not only do they need to train their own employees to compete in the marketplace but they also need to train their accounts in order to thrive. It’s no easy task and yet it’s a crucial element for a lab’s success.

Robert Bell, of EyeCoach, an industry veteran and the creator of The EyeCoach Selling System, believes most labs do a terrific job teaching and training their clients in product knowledge. But he cautions labs and eye care professionals that this kind of training should in no way be seen as sales training. To that end, sales training should not be seen as product knowledge training, either. Bell believes these two items are mutually exclusive. One without the other is a recipe for stagnant sales and disastrous customer service.

“Imagine teaching a kid everything there is to know about how to hit a baseball,” explained Bell. “Then you send him up to the plate without a bat. He’s going up there with only half the tools he needs to succeed. Or, turn it send the kid up to the plate with a bat but never taught him a thing about how to hit the ball. His chances for success are very limited. He needs both sets of skills to succeed.”

The same is true with labs and their customers. Labs have become very proficient in training their accounts in product knowledge. Bell has a different strategy for training your accounts that gives them the complete skill sets they need to increase their sales and therefore, your sales as well.

Listen in on my conversation with the EyeCoach to learn more by logging onto where you will find Sales Training for Your Accounts, listed under the Features section.

Make What You Say, Pay!

White Elephants in the Room

Make What you Say, Pay!

For or against the troop build-up, there was an important sales lesson to be learned from President Obama’s speech at West Point earlier this month. Anticipate and address head-on every objection or concern in your listener’s mind. The anticipated objections were many: why the delay in the decision? Why should we focus on Afghanistan when our economy is a mess? Is this commitment worth it? Is there no end to the money we are spending there? Isn’t this just like Vietnam? Why can’t we keep the status quo? As with any sale, the concerns netted out to Why? Why now? How much? Is it worth it? Are there other better options? What’s involved? What will be our return on the investment?

You can’t wish away people’s objections, doubts, and concerns. They are the white elephants in the room that must be acknowledged. Your job is to turn those elephants into mice that scamper away and shape the way your listeners think about those obstacles. To get acceptance for your ideas and recommendations, deal with them directly, which will pave the way for acceptance of your ideas and recommendations.

Anne Miller
Make What You Say, Pay!

New Products

The Freeform Blank

The Freeform Blank

Manufacturer: Shamir Insight
Shamir Freeform Certified single vision blank
Each Freeform Blank is configured to the software specifications set for each Shamir Freeform lens design. The Freeform Blank guarantees a front curve that is consistent and truly spherical, which will result in a personalized lens that provides the most optimal vision for the patient. To guarantee the most optimized Freeform solution for their patients, Shamir recommends that eye care professionals request that a Freeform Blank be used for the production of each Shamir Freeform product.
Availability: SuperLite 1.60, SuperLite 1.60 Transitions, SuperLite 1.67, SuperLite 1.67 Transitions, PolyPlus, PolyPlus Transitions, SuperLite 1.74.
(877) 514-8330

Super MaxVue 1.67

Super MaxVue 1.67

Manufacturer: Seiko Optical Products of America
Advanced free-form single-vision lenses
Double-sided aspheric single-vision lenses combine Seiko’s patented aspheric front design technology with advanced free-form lens processing on the back. The result is a high-index lens with superior optical performance, thinness, lightness and comfort. Unique combination of patented low base curve and free-form aspheric back-surface design virtually eliminates power error, distortion and marginal astigmatism. Front surface includes Seiko’s exclusive 10mm spherical fitting button. Free-form back surface provides precise aspheric/atoric compensation calculated for patient’s individual Rx. Unlike traditional aspheric lenses, which compensate for primary aberrations in the spherical power, Super MV lenses correct these aberrations throughout the entire cylindrical axis, virtually enabling the edged lens to have “optical center vision” everywhere. The result is exceptional clarity of vision throughout the entire lens, even in Rx’s with high power and cylinder.
Availability: +6.00 to -10.00, out to a -5.00 cylinder (total power of -10.00 diopters), with up to 3 diopters of prism.
(800) 235-5367

Thindex 1.70

Thindex 1.70

Manufacturer: Vision-Ease Lens
Thin, lightweight lens with high-performance optics
Thinner and lighter than 1.67-index lenses and rival 1.74-index lenses for greater comfort in mid-to-stronger prescriptions. Higher Abbe value than 1.67 and 1.74 lenses results in less chromatic aberration. SuperHydro anti-reflective coating on the FSV offering allows lenses to transmit maximum light for sharper night vision and reduced glare, while offering effective liquid repellence, high abrasion resistance and anti-static properties. Oleophobic coating resists smudges and oil, making lenses easy to clean. Novella Short Corridor Progressive provides additional benefits, including 120-degree far vision field for unmatched comfort and a wide, far distance. Soft design allows for smooth transition between viewing zones; 14mm fitting height and 11mm short corridor accommodate small, stylish frames, allowing near vision and reading areas to remain intact.
Aspheric semi-finished single vision; aspheric finished single vision with SuperHydro AR; Novella Short Corridor progressives. Wide range of powers and bases.
(800) 328-3449

Visual Fatigue Solutions Lenses

isual Fatigue Solutions Lenses

Manufacturer: Essilor of America
New lens line consisting of Essilor Anti-Fatigue lenses and Essilor Computer lenses designed to address the symptoms of Visual Fatigue Syndrome (VFS).
Essilor Anti-Fatigue lenses are intended as a primary-pair replacement for patients’ single vision lenses. They feature a special “Power Boost” area in the lower portion of the lens to give the wearer’s eyes greater clarity and comfort when focusing up-close for extended periods.

Essilor Computer lenses are recommended for presbyopes experiencing symptoms of visual fatigue and are intended as a second pair to complement the wearer’s primary pair of progressive lenses. The lenses do not require any special ordering procedures and can be ordered like any other progressive lenses, according to Essilor.

Essilor Computer lenses offer clear vision at full distance. A larger intermediate area creates a more relaxed, comfortable visual experience, with no head tipping required to find the correct intermediate power.
(800) 843-3937

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Andy Karp

Andrew Karp
Editor, Lab Advisor
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Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk
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