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A Monthly Briefing for Optical Lab Owners and Managers

- October 2017 -

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Dollars & Sense

Discover the “Secret Sauce” for Customer Retention

By Denise Ciardello

Peter Drucker famously wrote in The Practice of Management that the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.

Unfortunately, the latter of these is often overlooked. With the papers, online content and mailers filled with so many ways to attract new customers, what businesses tend to forget is that they spend almost three times as much on attracting new customers than retaining the customers they already have.

Every business has a culture, and the culture defines whether the office is customer, time or technology-focused, along with a sense of negativity or an attitude of joy. The standards and values of the team can become apparent to a customer as soon as the phone is answered.

When the emphasis of the office is placed on exceptional customer care, the team becomes an asset that will continue to grow the business over time. The significance of creating greater customer satisfaction begins with a total team approach. The following three ingredients form the secret sauce to create an office environment that generates raving fans, in turn developing an organic marketing strategy that brings in friends and family of your satisfied customers.

Personal Attention: Customer service is the first step in effective marketing. When a customer walks in your front door, how do they feel? Is it cold and sterile or warm and inviting? Do you look up and smile when a customer enters the room? Do you realize that you can change someone’s entire outlook with a simple smile?

Personal touches, like shaking hands and individual greetings provide an immediate differentiator, and project a form of professionalism that people expect from a business encounter. By ensuring that someone feels like you are glad that they are there, they will only leave your office feeling happy—and even better—they will go tell all their friends.

Be Punctual: A major complaint from customers is the wasted time they spend in a waiting room or lobby prior to a scheduled meeting. Customers do not enjoy being forced to wait without knowing the reasons for the delay or how long the delay will be. These long waits may be interpreted as a sign of disrespect for the time and efforts your clients and customers spend to ensure their calendars are clear.

Staying on schedule (or close to it) is a major factor in customer retention—perhaps even one of the biggest. There is a clear message of “indifference” that flows when people frequently experience long wait times.

Businesses should work to prevent delays by avoiding overbooking appointments and advising their clients and customers on the nature and length of delays. By merely explaining to a customer that the office is running about five minutes behind, it can immediately diffuse any anger or frustration. Be honest with the patrons as soon as you know there will be a wait time.

Focus on Professionalism: This area is lacking in so many businesses. Is it because our society has become so casual and that is getting mixed up with how to remain professional?

Dress appropriately: Your workplace attire may or may not include wearing a suit and tie, but you are still a professional. Whether you have to dress up for work, you wear a uniform or you wear scrubs, your appearance should always be neat and clean. A wrinkled outfit looks no better than a pair of ripped jeans. Wear the type of clothing your employer requires and take pride in what you are wearing. Generally speaking, revealing or tight clothing is a no-no. Avoid clothing that is too low, too high, too tight or too revealing.

Don’t hide from your mistakes: As hard as it may be to do, take ownership of your mistakes and do your best to correct them. Try not to make the same one twice. Never blame others, but set an example so that those who shared in the mistake can step forward and admit it. By the same token, don’t constantly call others out on their mistakes; rather, help to teach them the right way.

Be a team player: A true professional is willing to help his or her co-workers when they are overburdened. He or she isn’t afraid to share knowledge, opinions, or simply an extra pair of hands. One person’s success reflects well on everyone in his or her workplace.

Every facet of your business—large and small—is important, and customers will always appreciate excellent customer service. While you put so much emphasis on the new customer, what about the returning customers? You need to woo each one equally. Give that personal attention that everyone longs for in every aspect of their lives. Treat customers with respect at all times. If you maintain a culture of respect, your customers will know that they are truly being well cared for.

Stay on time; work together as a team to maintain that time schedule and when someone falls behind, let the customer know that there will be a wait. Conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times; this includes how you look, what you say and how you treat others. Keep an open line of communication with your clients, and ensure prompt attention to any issues that may arise.

It doesn’t take a lot to create the secret sauce to customer retention—it just takes consistency and attention to detail. Most importantly, it takes a team. 

Denise Ciardello is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions (GTS), an accomplished speaker, and author of the Office Management Gems series. Through her engaging keynotes and consulting, Denise provides unique insight, creativity, and humor for her clients. Her industry distinctions include serving as president of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants and membership in the National Speakers Association, and Toastmasters International. For more information on Denise Ciardello, please visit: www.GTSGurus.com.


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New Products

Transitions Optical Releases New Style Materials to Educate Eyecare Professionals on Finding Style in Lenses Materials

To help eyecare professionals (ECPs) stay up to date on the latest lens style trends--Transitions Optical has created style materials designed to provide tips for finding the style in eyewear and merchandising their office space to better display eyewear options to patients.

Eyewear has evolved from a functional product to an important style component. To help ECPs build their practice and take advantage of the opportunities an uptrend in style presents, Transitions Optical created three tools to help ECPs become more knowledgeable about the lens style arena: 

Lens Style Guide PDF: Authored by Transitions Change Agents Sheena Taff and Darryl Glover, OD, the Lens Style Guide gives ECPs a step-by-step look at how to talk to patients about the latest trends in eyewear, how to pair frames and lenses and how to display eyewear in their practice.

Style One-Page Handout: This tool provides a shortened version of the Lens Style Guide to give ECPs the basics for creating a stylish eye care and eyewear practice.

Style Brainshark: Sheena Taff gives an overview of the style ABO Course--helping ECPs learn about the latest trends in eyewear fashion and create a practice that emphasizes the stylish aspect of not just frames, but lenses too.

Style Social Media Posts: The social media posts provide style-focused material that ECPs can share on their practice accounts.

The materials also provide information on how to style Transitions® lenses--including frame and lens combinations and color matching to help ECPs when prescribing Transitions lenses to style-conscious patients. The Transitions Optical style resources can be viewed online and downloaded by visiting TransitionsPRO.com/style.

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Brian Dunleavy, Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor

Brian is the Editor of LabTalk. He covers wholesale laboratories, lab systems, other ECP news and features/coverage. Contact Brian at [email protected].

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