If you don’t have customers coming through your doors, your Optical business is just 4 walls with no real purpose. All too often, businesses fail to realize just how vital and profitable repeat customers are. Instead, many practices fall flat when it comes to providing exceptional customer service, which is the easiest way to keep and maintain those repeat customers. For quite some time a common misconception amongst business owners was that investing in your business’ customer service experience was merely an added cost with little to no ROI. We know better now, yet customer experience has incrementally gotten worse over time. With businesses losing over $137 billion annually in avoidable customer switching, we would say it’s time to focus your attention and effort on a full-service customer experience model at the core of your optical business.
So how can you enhance the way your customers feel after engaging with your business? Read on to find out.
1. Getting to Know Them
You need to build trust. There are many ways to do this, but the most effective way to create mutual trust is to show your customers that you genuinely care. Several studies have confirmed that about 80% of customers will only return to service businesses if they feel cared for by the company. So you might be asking yourself, “How do I begin building trust”? It’s easier than you think! Ask them questions about their lives, learn about your customers and understand their problems. Learning about your customers will also allow you to customize your approach. For example, If you learn someone has 4 toddlers at home, perhaps your team will recommend bendable glasses such as Flexon or maybe you will recommend skipping glasses altogether and fit them for contacts.
Your customers are not just patient #17 that day, they’re the whole reason your practice exists, so treat them like it.
2. Remember Them
Another great way to build trust and create a better customer experience is to call customers by name or try to remember something they told you in the previous visit. This ties in well with the first point above. Perhaps they mentioned a vacation, a best friend’s wedding or their kid’s soccer game. A quick hack to remember all this when you’re juggling hundreds of patients is to add little sticky notes in your patients’ files! The minute they step out of your door, jot down a few words that will help you remember some of your small talk. It might sound annoying and silly, but when those same customers walk through your door for a decade or longer, it won’t feel silly then. You can take this a step further by sharing your notes with your team member who sends visit recap messages to the patient. A little “Good luck with your wedding day!” will take your business from just another optical shop to being an optical practice with a caring, friendly neighborhood eye doctor in the patient’s eyes (no pun intended).
3. Be Genuine
Did you make a mistake or misunderstand what a customer meant? Apologize. Was your customer wrong about something, but will feel better if you lift them up? Then apologize. Were you late to seeing your patient? Instead of making them feel like it’s part of the process, apologize.
If you’ve made a mistake or have done something to your customer that would be frustrating for any person to deal with, make sure they know that your intentions were pure and you’re just there to help. The beauty of making mistakes, messing up or upsetting a customer is that you get the opportunity to show your customer you care about the service you’re providing them and that making a mistake concerns you as much as it concerns them. Remember, at the end of the day you’re dealing with other humans full of emotions, good and bad. Sometimes running 10 minutes behind schedule is what breaks the camel’s back for the customer that has had a long and terrible day. Sharpen up your empathy skills, they will take you far.
We hope these tips have helped you understand some ways in which you can enhance the experience your optical practice provides its customers. This is only the tip of the iceberg! For more ideas to enhance your customers’ experiences, look out for Part 2 in the coming weeks.