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  • #16
    HBB, I like it! The store is the batch. Perfect concept.

    A tip: don't let patients take frames home. Just film the patient in your frames for them. It may take a little practice, but you can get good at it.

    We (fortunately or not) get a lot of "virtual" frame stylings...the wife is on the other end choosing the husband's final frame choices.

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    • #17
      Maybe we're getting off subject, but consider:

      A. "Face time" with the valued-opinion person. Pro: final decision reached. Con: a bit clunky to get in touch
      B. "Take home photo" for the valued-opinion person: Pro: easy to do. Con: has to come back, later.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Optical Roy View Post
        "Sell what I can see, not see what I can sell"
        This is wisdom. I like proverbs.

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        • #19
          This just came back up today, because we always slouch back to old habits.

          Some dingy patient liked a frame on the board, but wanted to see two other colors (we already had two on the board). Result: didn't like them, purchased a different style altogether.

          Another crazy patient: wants to see THREE different frame styles in different colors. Of course we're ordering.


          NOW! Mind you, these are all vision care plan patients. You know what that means? We aren't getting paid enough for frame styling by a highly skilled optician, LET ALONE having all these special order privileges! This has to stop.

          If we decide to drop all vision plans and run a botique we can give botique service.

          Ironically, and I totally understand the initial concern, my optician says "yeah, but if we don't have what they want, they'll walk". But the alternative can't be "well, let's lose money or break even on them, then." Having them walk is a favor at some point.

          I can't divulge the VCP frame service margins, but they're so eroded that there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that concierge-type service is feasible.

          So my conclusion is that we will not special order any frames or colors any longer. What you see is what you get. If you don't see something you like in our collection, please feel free to check out your options elsewhere.
          Last edited by drk; 02-20-2024, 05:30 PM.

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          • #20
            The only other possible alternative I could come up with is to create a new level of service, something like "custom frame styling services" or hopefully something way more descriptive.

            This is half-baked, but the gist would be "you pay us $XXX (cash) for glasses styling services and we'll sit with you and do a color and shape analysis and special order just the right frame if needed".

            And you'd pay it regardless of whether you're a cash or insurance patient, if you want it. It's a service fee, not a frame fee.

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            • #21
              Concierge Medicine

              Concierge medicine (also called boutique medicine, retainer-fee practice, direct care, and membership medicine) is a prevalent concept where the customer pays a flat/annual fee or a retainer in exchange of enhanced personalised care and better access to their doctors.
              The concept was started in 1996 when a doctor from Seattle decided to ask his patients to pay an annual fee or a retainer in exchange for highly attentive medicine. The practice became famous in a short while and was accepted by a lot of doctors from all over the world.
              The concierge medicine business model is a win-win model for both the doctors and the patients as the doctor doesn’t have to manage a huge number of patients to make their ends meet, and the patients get timely and personalised care and treatment from their doctor.
              The retainer fee of such service range from few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per year. This may or may not be in addition to other charges and may or may not be covered by health insurance policies.

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              • #22
                So the idea in concierge medicine (and I don't do this nor do I endorse it, necessarily) is that you pay to play. It's like a membership fee. You still get your insurance billed. It's just that you pay an annual fee to make up for the crappy service levels that are paid for by the insurers.

                I'm surprised it's allowed, but hey. It's a good idea.

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                • #23
                  Or…Post #8? At least you give the illusion of caring…

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                  • #24
                    I don't know. Clearly there are two ends to this dichotomy:

                    One pole: "See inventory? Help yourself."
                    Opposite pole: "Allow me to fawn all over you."

                    There's always a "slider" that moves from one pole to the other to set the thermostat, so everyone is going to have to set it where it balances reimbursement with time invested.


                    Some entrepreneurial or relational types might say: "I want to invest time because it will pay off in the short run (a multiple pair, maybe?) or the long run (loyalty, and they can't possibly be such a pain next year?).

                    Other transactional types may say: "I want to make a reasonable amount PER TRANSACTION so I'm not going to over-invest."

                    It's a philosophical decision.

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                    • #25
                      There are a few of these providers in my area. One offers GP and mental health services. Membership fee and you are assured to see a doctor within 24 hours.

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                      • #26
                        Any special order frame is a $10 charge to cover shipping fee. This usually curbs the patient urge to see multiple colors in person.

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                        • #27
                          DRK, There is only one way your patient knows that a frame comes in colors other than what you have in stock...your staff told them. Train your staff to sell what you have in stock.
                          Patient: Does this frame come in other colors?
                          Optician: We also have red, and purple.
                          If they don't care for those colors, move on to another frame.
                          Last edited by CME4SPECS; 02-21-2024, 12:20 PM.

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                          • #28
                            This.

                            I will redouble my efforts to be sure that our inventory is "full" to our "plan" (sometimes there are holes in the board). Then we will say "these are the 'best colors'." Indeed, if there are several good colors, I will try to represent them directly or indirectly with a "sister" frame style that crosses colors.

                            I think the idea is reasonable to have a "special order" option for patients IF THEY MUST ASK for it. But it won't be free. It will have to cover 1. staff time to order and track and reschedule 2. shipping out 3. potential shipping back 4. tracking for credit by our accounting department.

                            That's not nothing. If you add it up, it's gotta be around $30.

                            So, it's a "special order fee, non-refundable, but if the frame is acceptable we'll waive the fee when making a final order".

                            As to limits, I think you'd seriously have to do it PER FRAME ordered. They could be totally separate vendors. Synchronizing all the ordered frames for a single setting takes time and effort. I don't see any volume discount opportunity, here.

                            But unless they want to purchase each frame they ordered (they won't, of course) then they are paying NO MATTER WHAT. "Order three, pay $90, maybe like one and you only have to pay $60". That's not gonna fly. You may as well have a "special concierge fee" at that point.

                            So the practical limit would be one frame order-able.

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                            • #29
                              I never knew selling a frame could be so complicated.

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                              • #30
                                Gotta think stuff out, bro.

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