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    Why opticals must exceed, not meet, expectations

     

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    The need for personalized, patient-focused service is present in today’s society. In order to be successful, we must be able to identify, meet, and exceed patient expectations.

    How do we identify our patients’ expectations? Hold a focus group and ask them.

    Ask patients what they want

    I had the opportunity years ago to manage a high-end optical boutique, Lugene Opticians, in Boston’s Copley Place. We dispensed eyewear for thousands of dollars each, including buffalo horn, handcrafted woods, solid gold, and embellishments with diamonds, jewels, and more.

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    We realized with such a small percentage of the market share, we needed to not only meet our patients’ expectations but exceed them to maintain a healthy business.

    Modeling the idea from ‘In Search of Excellence’ by Tom Peters, we held focus groups of our own. By simply asking our patient base what their expectations were, we were able to collect their minimum expectations—out of their mouths

    The results were surprising. At times when we thought we were exceeding expectations, we were in fact only meeting them.

    Realizing that there was a communication gap in understanding expectations, we made changes in how we did business and brainstormed how we could identify and exceed expectations.

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