By Johnna Dukes, ABOC

My husband is a bit of a customer service aficionado. He often writes down a server’s name in a restaurant when we encounter great service and will return to the establishment to let the owner know about the great job this particular employee had done. On the flip side, he is the first to remark when great service is not what we encounter. This always makes me think about what things I could and should be doing in my business in order to make someone want to make a special trip to tell the owner about their great experience, and I’ve come up with a few things that I feel make all the difference.

When working with a client, I always make it a point to use their first name as often as possible. I ask questions about their life and how they use their eyes in an effort to get to know what their needs are, and then follow it up with questions about their sense of style. After these conversations, I feel like I get a sense for who they are and go about choosing their frames with the knowledge that I’m styling Karen today, so I’d better know what Karen likes and doesn’t like. I don’t take lightly that this is a product she’s likely to interact with daily for, on average, the next 2.6 years, so I really want to make sure it’s right for her. Making this experience personal for her makes all the difference, and creates the mindset that since I took the time to get to know her, I really know what will work for her, and when she thinks about her next pair, (or her sunwear, or her computer pair) she is not likely to go anywhere else or let anyone else help her with these selections.

P.S. She’s probably going to tell all of her friends that there’s this awesome Optician who asked her a bunch of questions and then picked the perfect pair for her, and you’re likely to get to work with her friends too!

After this interaction and the patient feels like they’re in good hands, make sure to follow it up with accurate work. Don’t get sloppy now, don’t dispense lenses that are ill fitting or of poor aesthetic. This client is expecting a product they will want to put on their face for the next few years; make sure you can deliver on what you sold them. I promise your patient doesn’t care if the lab did a sloppy job. As far as they’re concerned, you sold them a product, and if it doesn’t look good, then you didn’t do a good job. Make sure you understand what a finished product should look like, and convey clear expectations of the finished product to your client. If you’re working with a high myope, and you’re not upfront about your expectation of the thickness of the finished product, then you’ve just ensured that your client will be unhappy at dispense. Be clear about what the next steps are, what you expect the finished product to look like, feel like, and how it will perform. If you deliver on these expectations, you have established yourself as the expert your client will turn to again and again.

Following your client interaction with gratitude is a game changer. I like to do this in two ways. After dispensing, I tell the client that I want to thank them for choosing to do business in our office; that it means a lot to our entire staff. I do this face to face because the client can see that I’m genuinely grateful. Then I follow up with a written thank you note a few days after the dispense as a reminder of our interaction. I can’t tell you how many people have come in just to thank me for sending them a thank you note! Seriously, if I’ve had any success in my career at all, I can directly attribute it to gratitude, and I believe that being grateful allows more good things to happen to you.

Often I see offices that deliver on selling the dream, but fall short on what the finished product looks like, or even offices that make beautiful eyewear, but fall short on making the interaction personal to the client. It does take all of these steps to ensure your client will not only be pleased with the finished product, but one who would go the next step to make an additional trip to thank you for what you’ve done. This is the mark of a memorable experience.

For more ideas to create an experience that bonds clients to your practice, see our CE, Creating an Experience, at, and take advantage of our extended Summer CE Sale. All CE courses are Buy One, Get One Free when you enter the code CESummerSale at checkout.