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    Why opticals must exceed, not meet, expectations


    For example: The office closes at 6 p.m. A patient comes in at 5:30 p.m., stays past closing time, but purchases a pair of eyewear.

    Have you met or exceeded expectations?

    At the time, we thought that we had exceeded their expectations, but in that scenario we simply met expectations.

    In a patient’s mind he thinks, “Hey, I came in before you closed. If it took you an extra half hour to complete the transaction, that is not my problem.”

    Money has transferred from the patient’s pocket to yours, and the fact that it took a half hour after closing time has no relevance to him.

    Here in lies the problem. If we think we are exceeding expectations, we cannot help but to have a little swagger in our body language. If someone picks up on this swagger and believes we have simply met his expectation, conflict can arise.  

    Through our focus groups we learned some interesting facts about what our patients really expect.

    Related: How a blue ocean strategy can keep you competitive

    Here are some examples:

    Patients expect honesty

    One woman said, “That girl told me everything looked good on me.”

    Let’s break that down, the fact that she used the term “that girl” shows that the optician did not represent herself in a professional manner. Can everything look good on anyone? The patient was actually stating she felt that she was lied to just for the sale.

    Related: Does your practice have a hive mentality?

    Patients expect interest in their eyewear purchase

    Though we may be exhausted of talking the benefits of polarization and anti-reflective coating (AR), our patient is hearing it for the first time.

    When dispensing, I truly have a genuine interest in the outcome. We put glasses on our faces every day for years. The expectation patients have of our interest is real—this is not a hope, but their basic expectation.


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