Dispensing, Feature

Fly to the winds of your customer – Part 1

When a person enters the store, it’s impossible to know what quirks lie beneath. ACOD’s VIRGILIA READETT offers a guide on how to dispense to a customer’s behavioural type.

Can you recall the best customer service you have ever received? Did you feel they were simply ticking boxes, or did they ‘get’ you? I’m sure it felt effortless, like their service and product was tailored just for you. That’s because it was.

Virgilia Readett.

Tailored customer services or adapting to the person you are serving isn’t new; in fact, it has been at the forefront of customer service training for decades.

How should our approach be tailored? What methods suit which customer? It can be a case of trial and error. You’ll hit the mark for some – creating loyal customers. But for others, their needs can seem a mystery. We are naturally drawn to those whom we have similarities with. Take a look at your friendship circle or co-workers you click with.

This can be applied to customer service in the optical industry. A process often referred to as ‘mirroring’ can be the feather in a successful salesperson’s cap.

What are the birds?

Mirroring your customer quickly and accurately requires profiling their behavioural type. The next step is knowing how to respond to their category – or ‘bird-type’. More specifically, the D.O.P.E model – Dove, Owl, Peacock, Eagle – was developed by Richard M Stephenson and based on the work of Dr Gary Couture and Dr William Marston.

Without much explanation, one could simply form an idea of these behavioural types from the connotations of their avian names – but let’s break it down.

Doves are natural diplomats. They are patient, sensitive, supportive and loyal. They seek a sense of belonging and want to feel like a supportive and caring member of small groups.

Logical, analytical, and reserved – these are the traits we associate with the Owl. They look for predictability, put logic before feelings and seek structure, facts and figures.

The Peacock – charismatic, outgoing and animated – prioritise people before tasks. They seek recognition and, to an extent, popularity.

Confident, ambitious, decisive, and impatient – our Eagles. They seek results and look for a challenge. Power and authority are high on their agenda.

These behavioural traits have tell-tale signs in the optical environment.

Profiling your customer

The customer that sneaks in unnoticed and will wait quietly until no one else is waiting to ask for help – classic traits of the Dove.

Our beloved Owls head in well prepared with quotes and pamphlets, a list of frames they have researched and a question for every aspect of the dispense.

The whole practice knows when a peacock arrives. They involve their family, friends, every staff member, and even other customers in their frame selection. They concentrate on the process rather than the end result.

And the Eagle, who may not have booked an appointment but will still expect to be seen the same day, they will make fast, decisive selections and usually a same day purchase. The perfect walk in.

Fly in sync with your customer

Once you have identified the customer’s behavioural type, how do you successfully adapt to them?

As a research task I asked my fellow teachers at ACOD to take the D.O.P.E behavioural test and picked their brain about their preferences as optical customers.

The results were enlightening and entertaining, and will be featured in Part 2 of this article in the August issue of Insight.

Reflections for you and the team

What are your next steps? The best starting place is self-awareness. Take the quiz to discover your “bird”: richardstep.com/dope-personality-type-quiz/. This will indicate the behavioural type that comes most naturally to you and therefore the customer type you feel most at ease serving.

Take note of your secondary bird – or second highest scoring bird. This is the behavioural type you can easily access or turn on. You slip, almost without noticing, into this different style.

It is the other two birds – your lowest scoring categories – that may take more energy or effort for you to adapt to. Be aware of this and work as a team where possible to let members shine where they have the best potential to do so. I’m sure the team will appreciate the Owls among you serving all the engineers.

In addition to the real-world applications, Part 2 of this article will provide detailed examples of certain D.O.P.E. behaviours, and how the optical dispenser can adapt to provide a memorable customer experience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Virgilia Readett teaches with ACOD and has been in optics since 2012. She holds a Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing, Certificate IV in Training & Assessing, and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Communications.

References

More reading

A guide to spectacle lens compensations — Nicola Peaper

Dispensing eyewear for work health and safety

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