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    Respect patients' trust during eyewear selection

    Helping to choose frames and lenses is a responsibility

    Have you shopped lately? Gone to the mall and tried something on? Maybe the color is not perfect for you, or the style isn’t flattering.

    If you are shopping alone, there is only one choice for another opinion: the salesperson. We are forced to rely on her honesty, but what if she works on sales commission? If she thinks of this sale as only financial, her response will be, “The style and color are perfect for you, and it looks great!”  Feeling confident, you make the purchase and take it home—after all, this new outfit “looks great.”

    Consequences if the outfit doesn’t look great are likely minor, and you’ll wear it only once.

    Previously from Ms. Hagemeyer: Building trust with patients builds the practice

    Optical frames, unlike clothing, are almost always a constant. Frames are likely on our patient’s face from morning until night.

    Eyewear influences how first impressions are formed and consequently how a patient’s personality and individuality is perceived. In addition, selection of the perfect frame can raise our patient’s self-confidence.

    Frame selection

    When we assist our patients in frame selection, we have a responsibility to assess their personality—it will relate to the style of ophthalmic frame chosen. That being said, personality should not dictate the only direction of frame choice. After all, there are thousands of frame styles to choose from. Our patients rely on our honesty and integrity to assist in sorting their perfect style from those that may not be the best choice.

    Casual communication with patients during frame selection will improve their perception of the entire process. It becomes a catalyst for comfort and encourages a relaxing exchange. Our patients feel no pressure to make a purchase; instead, they may enjoy the process.

    Frame selection should never feel like a chore. Time constraints compromise the atmosphere of frame selection. It is key to never rush. A rushed decision may evolve into a mistake, then the possibility of an unfortunate remake of the complete job, and at the end we have an unhappy patient who isn’t pleased with our service and may communicate that to family and friends.

    Related: Glasses and contact lenses: Have they become a commodity?

    When a patient thinks frame selection is an inconvenience or speaks of frame selection as “the worst part of the appointment,” think of her attitude as a challenge, not a burden. Avoid allowing her emotion to influence how you conduct yourself during frame selection.

    It can be difficult to remain upbeat when the person you are trying to help doesn’t care or is difficult to please. When helping a patient with a negative attitude, it can be a struggle to remain optimistic. If it becomes too stressful, ask a team member to take over if only for a few minutes. A break can be healthy and encourage a few minutes to regain a fresh and optimistic perspective.

    Tami L. Hagemeyer, ABOC, FNAO
    Tami Hagemeyer is the lead optician at Premier Vision Group in Bowling Green, OH. She is responsible for all phases of optometric and ...


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