There is a plethora of useful information to ensure optical dispensers get the best results for their patients. JAMES GIBBINS cuts through the noise to offer more essential advice.
In part one, I delved into four key elements to help optical dispensers refine their practice. This ranged from emphasising the importance of the optical cross and frame selection, to pointers on how to execute a smooth handover to the customer.
This month, I explore six additional factors to help practitioners ensure they obtain optimal results for their patients.
Tip No 5: The frame adjustment: Remember, business can be won and lost on the simple tweaking of a temple bend. Too often, optical dispensers (and sometimes experienced dispensers who should know better) allow the customer to leave without due attention to this.
The customer may say the spectacles feel fine on first wearing, but we all know what feels fine at first can be thoroughly distressing after a couple of days’ wear. We must inspect the fit of every frame at pick up and look for any possible adjustments to ensure a comfortable fit.
The danger here is if we let the customer exit the practice with a poorly fitting frame, they could drop into another practice to have the adjustment attended to and find the discomfort and pain alleviated. They may believe this simple tweak reflects an outstanding practice, leading them to take future business, including that of family and friends, elsewhere. Ouch!
Tip No 6: Final checking of all spectacles is still recommended by our friends at the lab. The quality control (QC) of our lab work is arguably better than ever, but the reality is they are under constant pressure to work fast and often with reduced staffing levels.
It is always possible that a data entry error or something else might result in a pair of spectacles slipping through QC. It remains the responsibility of the practice to ensure everything that is passed out is fit for purpose. We understand at the retail practice there can be extraordinary pressure to work at pace with fewer staff, meaning sometimes this step may not be completed before the collection.
When this arises, we recommend certain jobs be given an elevated priority – including spectacles for children, first time progressive wearers, and anything prescription atypical. Final checking all spectacles is always best practice, but in the panic of a busy period, these three categories are your priorities.
Tip No 7: Simple tips to help improve your progressives ordering include:
• Always provide monocular pupil distances (PDs). If the monos are even, then state them that way, never reduce them to a binocular.
• Always provide monocular heights, for similar reasons.
• If your monocular PD’s are uneven, take care not to mix up your rights and lefts. As surprising as this may seem, this mistake remains a huge cause of reorders among dispensers.
• If your monocular heights are significantly uneven, double check the frame has been adjusted for a level fit first. Many an inexperienced or inattentive dispenser has ordered uneven heights, only to find on pick up the customer actually needed even heights once the uneven frame has been straightened on the customer’s face.
Tip No 8: When ordering a high minus grind lens, never ask the lab to grind for a knife edge (a minus lens must be and is always thicker on the edge than in the centre). Our friends at the lab will tell you this strange and impossible-to-fill order comes through surprisingly regularly.
Tip No 9: When ordering grind minus powered lenses for a wraparound style of sunglasses with a high front surface curve, check with the lab how advisable the job is. Fitting minus powered lens with a high front surface power can be challenging, and if the power is too high – depending on the refractive index and the front surface power – the final result may be unattractive or even impossible to achieve.
Tip No 10: When assisting with the collection (or handover) of a first-time pair of progressives, remember there can be a psychological element for the customer. They may be feeling this moment represents their unstoppable journey towards old age, maybe they have heard from a friend who didn’t enjoy their first pair of progressives, or they may still be feeling surprised at the cost.
It is absolutely critical the optical dispenser ensures this handover proceeds smoothly and that the customer is given simple and easy to follow advice on the use and care of their wonderful new spectacles. We want their first impression to be as positive as possible.