The holiday rush is just around the corner, so I'm sure you're busy preparing. Even though an eyecare practice may not have an inventory comparable to a big-box retailer, pulling in the right frames for display to satisfy customer demand is a fine art, especially during gifting season.
But when displays are limited and orders are mostly personalized, you might be thinking how could I possibly be prepared to accommodate patients' taste? First things first, the most important thing for your rockstar employees this time of the year is to emphasize exceptional customer service, which can make a big difference to a stressed-out holiday shopper. If you’re still overwhelmed with the holiday frenzy, check out the tips below; it’s all about finding the right combination of business and pleasure.
Preparing for the Business of Optical Product Ordering
Don’t Let Your Orders Sit Still
If you think you’re busy this time of the year, just imagine how busy your optical supplier is. The last thing you want to do is be that irritating customer that is still faxing your orders in. Submitting orders via fax machine, even with the holiday season aside, is a business practice of the past that we’re surprised some practices still use. Check out our eBook 5 Reasons Why Your Product Ordering Should be Done Online - with online ordering, you save everyone time and money.
Stop Typing the Same Thing Over and Over
I’m sure in the past you’ve caught yourself rekeying the same order over and over, particularly the pair of red frames that would go perfect with any Christmas sweater or that sparkly pair that would suit most New Year’s outfits. Well it’s time to take advantage of the Favorite Order Template. By saving a template with a frequently ordered material and design, you will find that you are saving time and decreasing the likelihood of errors.
Save Partially Completed Orders
Making decisions for big occasions always take a little more thought than usual. When a customer seems to be indecisive, just remember they have to leave a lasting impression on those family members that they rarely see, especially this year. The frames could also be a gift that they’re not sure about or may not know the prescription for. But with our Save to Pending Feature, there is no need to worry. Just fill in an order as much as possible, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select ‘Save to Pending Orders'.
Have Customers’ Order Statuses Readily Available
More than ever, people are wanting to know the status of their order. So with these deadlines, don’t stress yourself out with a slow computer. With VisionWeb’s Archived Orders Feature, you can reduce the time it takes to access order statuses of incomplete orders, have history readily available, and most importantly keep your customers happy.
Have a Holiday Themed Trunk Show
There’s no better way to display all of your practice’s unique seasonal frames than with a holiday-themed trunk show, either held outside your practice or virtually. The trunk show can be used to not only show off some of your great frames for gift shopping, but to also create a buzz for your practice and give your staff the opportunity to build relationships with customers and explain even more about what your practice has to offer.
It’s true, the holidays really are all about being generous and giving back, so show your customers you have a heart too. Have a raffle for a free pair of glasses where all the proceeds go towards one of your favorite holiday charity programs such as Toys for Tots, Make a Wish Foundation, or Angel Tree. It’s up to your discretion, but it never hurts to allow the world to see that your practice is a practice with values as well.
Show Your Customers How Much You Appreciate Them
Showing customer appreciation by providing a free gift or discounts to express how thankful you are for their business may seem as if it might hurt your bottom line during the holidays. But truthfully, if you want your practice to grow, the key is to have customers stay and refer your practice to their friends and family - which is arguably the most effective marketing for opticians. It’s easier to keep customers than replace them, so while preparing for this holiday season, make a list of ways you feel you can show your customers what their loyalty means to you.
Now this one’s easy – get festive! Decorate the office, put up a tree and let your customers get creative and make an ornament, have a holiday party, play seasonal music, and of course leave out candy canes. Let your creative side go wild this holiday season, and don’t forget to display cases that showcase showcase all of your popular seasonal products. And if you need a playlist to decorate efficiently we’ve got you covered.
Your workflow should be as quick and efficient as possible to get ready for the holiday rush. Here are some free tips:
Originally published in November 2012