Wasique A, M.Optom, FSCEH
Senior Optometrist & Educator, Healthy Eye Clinic
It is beyond doubt that optometrists constitute a pivotal workforce in the field of visual healthcare. They serve as professionally trained individuals who play a major role in the correct diagnosis and management of a plethora of eye-related conditions. As the optometry profession continues to expand worldwide, the number of young and novice optometrists is also increasing at a rapid pace. Seemingly, this has drastically increased competition among the optometrists which has now even superseded our expectations.
Increasing number of optometrists are now opting for a full-time clinical practice while establishing their own optometry clinics or partnering up with eye care specialists to work in their private clinical settings. This has indeed put an extra burden over the optometrists who must stay well-versed in their professional endeavours. One such important aspect involves the dispensing of the visual aids such as corrective glasses and lenses.
What is Dispensing?
Unlike the recent past when it was used to be mostly ignored by the field professionals, dispensing has now transformed into an essential ingredient of an optometrist’s clinical practice. Many practicing optometrists are now entirely relying on their dispensing skills to keep their optometry careers up and running.
Dispensing is in fact, the skill of selling spectacles or other visual aids to customers while assisting them to choose the perfect design, colour, and build. Apparently, it seems to be quite a simple job, nonetheless, good dispensing skills demand having a good technical know-how about your eyewear along with good communicative skills to convince the client about buying your product.
Why Dispensing matters?
For those professionals who have invested a major share of their fortune into the optometry, it is crucial that they adopt the best clinical practices to boost their customer service. If we consider all the major services provided by an optometry clinic, dispensing will always top the other facilities such as routine eye care or visual acuity examination. Therefore, optical dispensing clearly holds the status of the most profitable business for an average optometrist.
To make a prominent reputation, the primary goal of optometrists must be to improve the overall quality of customer experience by offering the customers an ideal vision solution.
Best Practices for high quality Dispensing
Following are a few practical solutions which can be implemented to expand the growth of an optometry dispensing business:
(1) Selection of an appropriate spectacles frame
An optometrist must try to keep up to 500 spectacle frames at hand within their setting. Although the buyers need to be shown all of them, this still provides them access to a wide range of samples to choose from. Spectacles must be selected according to the client’s facial contour, their sense of style, cost-effectiveness, and comfort of use. Moreover, frames should be regularly updated after every 3 months.
(2) Dispensing of Ophthalmic lens
Dispensing of a lens requires a great deal of background knowledge regarding optics as well as plenty of experience pertinent to customer’s personal choice and expectations. The optometrist must acquire information regarding their client’s nature of work, their extent of exposure to computer screen and other related aspects of their daily routine since these factors can drastically impact the decision of selecting the most suitable lens material.
In case a client attempts to make a poorly informed choice, it is entirely up to the communicative skills and background understanding of the optometrist how to persuade them to purchase the lens material which is best suited for their eyes. Another noteworthy point is the selection of the most cost-effective material which is seldom worth more than what the customer can already afford. If deemed necessary, an optometrist can seek help from various education tools at their clinic to allow the client to choose better.
(3) Quality Control
It is always prudent to run a quality check on the spectacle frames which are being advertised at your optometry setting. Before offering the final product, please make sure that it is exactly in line with what was expected by the customer. Furthermore, never forget to add a user guide as well as any major precautionary measures for all those who are using a visual aid for the very first time. Moreover, give your first-time clients extraordinary guarantees to win their trust in your eyewear products.
(4) Keeping your standards high!
It is extremely important to keep in mind a brief know-how about how your peers are competing against you in this field. It is also important to keep a track of how their prices compare to yours. Always set the bar high and never compromise on your product standards.
(5) Outsource your facilities
Once your practice seems stable, you must invest your finances into outsourcing which is now a proven strategy to survive in any form of business. Outsource your skills and technological resources, and this will gradually expand the overall outreach of your optometry business.
Always keep in mind that you must remind your clients to keep visiting your clinic intermittently. This not only helps keep the quality of the eyewear under check but also boosts your business relationship with the client.
Wasique is a driven professional with over 14 years of experience in Optometry & Vision Science which covers Clinical as well as Retail practice. He holds a Master in Optometry degree & is a Fellow of prestigious Dr.Shroff’s charity eye hospital. A frequent presenter at National and International meetings and also has published peer reviewed journal. He was quite instrumental in developing the Professional Services department for many renowned optical in India. Presently, Wasique does an Optometry practices and is also associated with various Optometry University and Colleges as guest Lecturer and playing a vital role in taking the optometrist to next level.