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Getting the handover right: Part 2

By James Gibbins
The handover of a pair of spectacles is a critical interaction. After looking at what might be going through a customer’s mind, JAMES GIBBINS explains how to make sure the handover ends well.

Last month we imagined a customer who is emmetropic, an early presbyope, and is coming in to pick up their first pair of spectacles fitted with progressive lenses. Now that we have a good picture of our customer, we can focus on how to give them the best handover possible.

The first thing the dispenser must ensure is that spectacles are ready for the expected time of pick up. Of course, the spectacles must be clean, in their appropriate case, and packaged with the correct documentation.

If the frame is the original one that was tried on in the practice, then the final fit was completed at the time of dispense and must not be interfered with.

However, if the frame has been supplied new, then the dispenser can at least ensure it is in good standard alignment, which is an ideal starting point from which the final fit can then be approached.

One point of disagreement amongst optical professionals regarding progressives is: Should we leave the progressive lens markings on the lenses for the handover, which will allow the lens positioning to be checked one more time and possibly attend to the frame adjustment if needs be, or should we have the markings cleaned off and the spectacles ready for the customer to test out?

Leaving a mark

"Dispensers need to adjust their manner if they have been in the habit of simply dishing out the completed specs"

Leaving the markings on is considered by many to represent a higher attention to detail, while others feel that if the original frame adjustment and facial measurements were performed appropriately, then the markings are not required and the spectacles will be more attractive at first sight.

Personally, my preference has always been to leave them on for that final confirmation regarding fitting cross position, and possible tweaking of frame adjustment. But take care if the spectacles are to be posted – then the markings must obviously be removed first. More than a few times I have had customers come into the practice after receiving their spectacles by post to ask what in the world was going on with the markings all over the lenses – making for an awkward moment indeed!

Putting on a show

The next crucial step in this exchange could be referred to as the ‘presentation’.

Dispensers need to adjust their manner if they have been in the habit of simply dishing out the completed specs. This moment should be approached smoothly and unrushed; the opening of the case, allowing the patient to see for the first time the final product, a careful opening up of the temples, and then presenting the spectacles in full view to the customer, all accompanied with the appropriate comments regarding the suitability or quality of the product.

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Indeed, some dispensers have extended this moment where the spectacles are presented on a stylish silver tray, maybe even alongside a chocolate to top off the service.

For some this may feel a little over the top, but some of our boutique and ‘high end’ practices are conducting their handovers just like this, suggesting their clientele love it.

Of course, a thorough inspection of the final fit frame adjustment is called for, and any further tweaking of the frame needs to be carried out in a professional, unrushed manner.

A thorough explanation regarding how to adapt to and use the new progressive lenses, in clear and easy to understand ‘layman’ terms, is required.

Keeping it positive

Under no circumstances should any negative terms like ‘distortion’ or ‘blur’ creep into the dispenser’s language, as this can lead the customer to doubting the quality of the lenses and their own ability to adapt.

Rather, keeping the language positive while directing the customer how to use their new, outstanding lenses will go a long way to setting them up for a successful adaption.

The dispenser can then warmly invite the customer to return at any time for a complimentary frame inspection, clean or adjustment, and any other questions.

Once again, try to avoid any negative language suggesting the customer return if or when they have any problems. We are assuming a seamless adaption, but the invitation to return will stay in the customer’s mind should something unexpected crop up.

This approach to the spectacle handover may seem a little dramatic or even excessive, but the fact is we continue to have many non-adapts in our industry. We should consider every approach that might help our customer’s adaption and to reduce our remakes and non-adapts.

And it’s true that picking up this first pair of progressives can be a big step for many of our valued customers. I for one think so, as this was my very experience just recently, as an emmetropic early presbyope receiving my first pair of progressives.

After years of dispensing and teaching optics, I never would have guessed how significant a moment it would be.


More reading:

Getting the handover right: Part 1



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