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Thread: From Corporate to Independent

  1. #1
    OptiBoard Novice
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    From Corporate to Independent

    Hiya, I'm an optician who had been working for America's Best Contacts and Eyeglass for a year and a half, and I left the joint because I felt it was more retail and we weren't supposed to really give a care about our patient's needs. I just received a new job at a private optical working with Hoya, and I would just like to know how I can be successful here.
    RUN!! IT'S THE POLYMONSTER!!!

  2. #2
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter rbaker's Avatar
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    Show up early. Stay late. Do what you are told. Listen and learn. Accept new responsibilities. Always smile and leave your personal "issues" at home. And, above all, stay off your smartphone while on the job.

  3. #3
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    That's the rule with any job/career, I mean in terms of what are the differences between the two...
    RUN!! IT'S THE POLYMONSTER!!!

  4. #4
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    Always increase your knowledge of optics. Read and learn everything contained in the Blue Bible. There are always new, or old, things to learn. Get ABO certified if you're not already. If you are, get ABO advanced certified. The certifications don't really mean much these days but the knowledge you will gain along the way will. Increasing your level of knowledge will vastly increase your ability to make the best choices for your patients. Forget everything or most of what your learned at america's best. There really shouldn't be too many times where you say "we can't do that" you might have to say "this isn't the best idea and here is why....".

    Does your new workplace have an in-house lab? If it does, learn every single in and out of your edger that you can. Learn how to do things the manual says you can't do. When unshackled from the corporate environment good independent opticians can make some beautiful eyeglasses out of seemingly impossible frame and lens combinations. If there is no in-house lab, I hate to break it to you, but there isn't nearly as much you can control in the final product. All you did was move from low end retail to higher end retail.

    "private optical working with HOYA" what does that mean. Does your new job only use HOYA lenses? That seems a bit limiting. But either way learn what type of lenses work better for what type of patients withing the portfolio of lenses you are allowed to offer. Don't ask patients what types of lens they want, they don't know. They expect you to be the expert and tell them the design/material/coatings/colors that will work the best for them and why. It is not(or should not) be what costs the most, it should be what works the best for the customers needs.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post
    Show up early. Stay late. Do what you are told. Listen and learn. Accept new responsibilities. Always smile and leave your personal "issues" at home. And, above all, stay off your smartphone while on the job.
    Wisdom in the words above. I would also take the effort to memorize Desiderata.
    Eyes wide open

  6. #6
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter rbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncut View Post
    Wisdom in the words above. I would also take the effort to memorize Desiderata.
    I have it in my wallet all the time.

  7. #7
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    I realized that we do work with another lab haha. Sorry
    RUN!! IT'S THE POLYMONSTER!!!

  8. #8
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    Convey the difference between quality and junk. If you can convey the difference between quality lenses(especially progressives) and everything else itll keep patients buying from you. Also make sure you take the time to perfectly adjust patients glasses. I also find explaining the adjustments to the patient is also very appericated

  9. #9
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    Be willing to learn. Be open to change. Always show up on time!

  10. #10
    OptiWizard OptiBoard Gold Supporter
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    All great responses!

    Remember what you learned about "lifestyle selling." Asking all the questions you need in order to forecast the average week in your patient's specs is good practice.

    If you're not already, get ABO certified asap.

    Please do book up: http://www.optiboard.com/forums/show...670#post336670

    In the course of digesting the references you bought, you'll have noticed a big opportunity to bone up on your math skills. Don't miss it. If you come to the table with a comfortable grip on Trig, there're few dispensary problems you can't figure out. If you're keeping yourself sharp here, your doctors will really appreciate it. Don't be afraid to bring things to their attention. If you think you spot an error, ask them (privately.) It's a learning opportunity if you're misunderstanding something. If you're not, you helped prevent a lapse of patient care on their behalf and they'll be very grateful you've got their back.

    Keep in mind your mastery is measured by your ability to explain it. You've got some great Role Models here on Optiboard. Watch 'em like a hawk and you'll see what I mean.

    Read everything you ever see by Darryl Meister.

    I agree with jc17777, you're doing well if you can explain the difference between high quality and low. But stay grounded in the math and don't take lens reps word for it. Be logical when parsing their sales material. Know what statistical validity is--and notice when they're not volunteering it. Above all, don't feel like you have to trash your competition in order to compete. Be diplomatic and take the high road every time. Patients will notice. Often enough, people are coming to you because they've already learned the hard way. (If a patient needs to go learn the hard way, let them!! People perceive value in different ways and that's ok.) 'Product contrasting' is only advisable if you're answering a direct question. (IMHO) In a similar vein, don't be a Champion for a product vendor. Be a champion for the patient, and keep an open mind how product from competing vendors can best serve a given individual.

    Try to put Optometric clinical publications on your reading list.

    Learning from your own mistakes is good. Learning from your own and those of others is even better! And yeah, as Kwill212 said, get as much time in the lab as you possibly can whenever you see a window of opportunity.

    Great question, great thread.

    Very good luck to you!

  11. #11
    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    The biggest difference is between the patient bases of corporate offices versus independent ones. Remember that independent offices will have a much, much higher proportion of returning patients. Many of your patients will boast about how many years they've been seeing your doctor. This has huge pluses and minuses. Among the pluses are loyalty: if you get a patient into nice frame and lens options, they will tend to want them every year. They bring their friends, they bring their families, they bring cookies at Christmastime. They remember your name and how old your baby is.

    The minuses are significant. As my current doctor describes it, "They want to pay a $15 exam copay and get a $700 exam experience." They will be sweet as sugar to you and then complain about your perceived attitude to the doctor, and you will have no idea what you did to upset them. More frequently, they will treat you like the help, then talk to the doctor like an old friend. Or when you tell them the schedule is full for the next four weeks, they will go straight to the doctor to make an exception and squeeze you in. Trust me, when they've been seeing your doctor for ten years, they all expect that you will squeeze them in, or extend their prescription, or give them another pair of trial contacts.

    Smile and take it all. Treat them all like VIPs. Refuse to be insulted by the patient who is actively insulting you, because their business is incredibly important, and their complaints--even if you are right and they are wrong--weigh more than your righteousness.
    I'm Andrew Hamm and I approve this message.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngeHamm View Post
    The biggest difference is between the patient bases of corporate offices versus independent ones. Remember that independent offices will have a much, much higher proportion of returning patients. Many of your patients will boast about how many years they've been seeing your doctor. This has huge pluses and minuses. Among the pluses are loyalty: if you get a patient into nice frame and lens options, they will tend to want them every year. They bring their friends, they bring their families, they bring cookies at Christmastime. They remember your name and how old your baby is.

    The minuses are significant. As my current doctor describes it, "They want to pay a $15 exam copay and get a $700 exam experience." They will be sweet as sugar to you and then complain about your perceived attitude to the doctor, and you will have no idea what you did to upset them. More frequently, they will treat you like the help, then talk to the doctor like an old friend. Or when you tell them the schedule is full for the next four weeks, they will go straight to the doctor to make an exception and squeeze you in. Trust me, when they've been seeing your doctor for ten years, they all expect that you will squeeze them in, or extend their prescription, or give them another pair of trial contacts.

    Smile and take it all. Treat them all like VIPs. Refuse to be insulted by the patient who is actively insulting you, because their business is incredibly important, and their complaints--even if you are right and they are wrong--weigh more than your righteousness.
    Yes! I would also add that they are all "friends of the doctor." The fact that they can't pronounce the doctor's name means nothing, they are buddies and they need to be squeezed in or get a special discount. Our doctor always tells us, "I have no friends." HA!

  13. #13
    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    I had a patient just call in with an eye problem. The doctor is out of town until Monday, when our schedule is already over-booked. They wanted me to leave a note for the doc because they KNOW he will make an exception and squeeze them in. They would rather wait five days to maybe get squeezed in than see another doctor today. I guess that's a compliment to our practice, but it seems like a really bad way to treat your own health. I just don't follow the logic that it's enough of an emergency to disrupt our entire already-disrupted schedule on Monday, but not enough of an emergency for the patient to chance a new doctor today.
    I'm Andrew Hamm and I approve this message.

  14. #14
    sub specie aeternitas Pete Hanlin's Avatar
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    I've worked in both retail and independent settings, and (at least in my observation) in ANY shop there is always ONE person who "knows their stuff" when it comes to all things ophthalmic- become that person. Opticianry is a very cool field, because- although there are thousands of us- very few of us truly decide to make ophthalmic optics a career. This means- with a bit of dedication and application of effort- you can rise to the pinnacle of the profession! If you've decided you want ophthalmic optics to be a career, purchase the book at this link: https://www.amazon.com/System-Ophtha...oks+ophthalmic Make it a goal to read the whole dang thing- yes, it will be boring at times, yes- you will need to go over some chapters repeatedly. However, if you finish this book, you will be better qualified than 95% of the folks calling themselves opticians.
    Pete Hanlin, ABOM
    Director Technical Marketing
    Essilor of America

  15. #15
    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments OptiBoard Gold Supporter
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    Redhot Jumper you will need to go over some chapters repeatedly...................................

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Hanlin View Post

    Make it a goal to read the whole dang thing- yes, it will be boring at times, yes- you will need to go over some chapters repeatedly. However, if you finish this book, you will be better qualified than 95% of the folks calling themselves opticians.
    ...............some good advice in a country that is already half way deregulated, and the next door neighbour Canada is also on the way of getting there.

    On the same subject, nobody ever mentions of getting some learning and knowledge in sales psychology, another helpful area in retail sales, besides mastering the technical side.
    Chris Ryser
    ________________________________________
    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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