Location, location, location. We’ve all heard it before: the geographical placement of your business is paramount to its success, as is understanding the demographics surrounding your dispensary. You’re a hot young OD or optician starting out in the business, or you’ve just arrived in a new city—you need to figure out the right place to put down your roots and establish an optometric dynasty that will reign supreme. How many of us have ever considered re-location, though?
What is branding? According to the Entrepreneur Small Business Encyclopedia, “your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”
It feels like I’m seeing a lot of news coverage about the measles outbreak these days, and instead of spending time being worried about that, I decided to think about something way more pleasant and also equally contagious: fun! I spend a lot of time in airports and I like to watch and notice people’s habits. Human behavior is on full display during the boarding process. Normally I like to watch the gate agent call out which zone is currently boarding and see how many people nudged in front of others to get to the front of the line to board the plane.
Preparing for my first trip to San Jose, CA, I went online to check out the airport, SJC in airport code. With only two terminals, it’s much smaller than the New York airport I will leave from, and much easier to navigate, I’m sure. Among the amenities advertised at SJC is an automated kiosk for cleaning eyewear and jewelry called OpticWash. For about $2 you can get your glasses, jewelry or even your water-resistant smartphone cleaned and sanitized in less than two minutes, while you watch.
Not long ago, I talked about how, while visiting a local optical, I was struck by their lack of ambient music, and the strange effect it had on the atmosphere in the store. It got me thinking about the office where I spent the bulk of my time as an optician, and that got me thinking about how our old office compared to many of the stores I’ve visited. I realized something unique about those places versus my old office: None of them had TVs.
Opticians are by nature a compilation of many parts, we are a little bit physics, a little bit fashion, a little bit psychologist, and a little bit tactile genius. We listen, analyze, find solutions, order, fabricate, verify, and adjust eyewear and so many, many more things on a daily basis. And as if we didn’t already have enough on our plates, I’m going to add one more task; storyteller. Why, you might ask? Because this single task might just be the thing that makes what we do so much more valuable to our patients.
I recently had some issues with my phone that couldn’t be resolved over the customer service line, and I was advised to go to my nearest dealer. Thankfully, there’s one on the corner down from my apartment, so it was a quick jaunt over there. Stepping inside, I was a bit taken aback by the choice of music.
Last month, Deborah Kotob, 20/20 Magazine Director of Education, attended the Opticians Association of America State Leadership Conference in Memphis. There, Deb announced Jobson Pro to Pro as the OAA media partner. For more than 90 years, the OAA has been dedicated to the advancement of the American optician. From their Mission Statement, “the OAA is the collective voice of the opticianry industry.
It has been eight months since I have become an apprentice optician. Every working day is an opportunity to learn different techniques and apply my knowledge. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed since working in this field, it’s that people need to feel comfortable with who is helping them. Although every optician encounters those patients who refuse almost every suggestion made to them about lens treatments, materials, frame choice, etc., it is still important to try to relate to them and fulfill their needs. Being approachable and friendly will work, but patients gravitate more towards confidence. If there is a way to relate to them on a personal level, they value my recommendations instead of viewing me as another person who is solely seeking sales. Furthermore, I establish a comfort-zone and consequently they willingly share the appropriate information to enable me to design the perfect pair of glasses.