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Creating A Welcoming Environment

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Karlen McLean, Eyecare Business, May 2015

Creating a welcoming environment starts and ends with friendly communication

HELLO “Greetings should be upbeat, cheerful, and every customer should be greeted with a smile,” says Brandi Kay, director of stores for Harvey & Lewis Opticians, with nine locations around Hartford, CT. The practice utilizes several opening statements, including: Welcome in! What can we do for you today? and Welcome to Harvey & Lewis! How can we help you? “If it’s a retuHello and Goodbyerning customer, we use the customer’s name,” Kay says.

Whatever greeting you use, use it quickly when a new person enters. “No one should be in the store for more than a minute without being acknowledged, no matter how busy we are,” says Kevin Loughlin, RDO, of Visual Eyes in Boston.

Susan Smith, LDO, with Visual Specialists of Longwood, located in Winter Park, FL, has a policy: “Immediately upon their entering into the optical area, patients are acknowledged, especially if they have to wait.”

GOODBYE While there are many variations to a close, the finale should be customized to the client and the reason they are there. “Thank you for coming in Mr. Jones! I look forward to seeing you when you come back to pick up your glasses (or contacts),” Kay says. For returning clients, she uses: “It was great to see you again; thank you for your business!”

Focusing on the person is a good endnote. “We guide them toward frames that look good, fit well, and are suitable for their Rx,” says Lori Epstein, owner of Visual Eyes in Boston. “If we do this well, there’s no need for a strong closing statement, because the patient has gained confidence in our knowledge and is assured that we’re interested in what’s best for them.”

Provide a note of positive reinforcement before patients depart. “We reassure them that they’ve made a good choice and will be happy with their new glasses,” adds Loughlin. “We repeat this reassurance on the day they pick up their new eyewear.”