Dear Fabulous Readers,
Last month’s column was about etiquette in the workplace and when to say “I am sorry” for something not necessarily your fault. This got me thinking about expectations, especially managing expectations.

Managing expectations is a consistent challenge and opportunity. We all want to be the under-promise, over-deliver type. Even when we feel like we are doing a top-notch job, attention to detail can slip through the cracks. As I pondered, “Are we identifying expectations and meeting them?” I reflected on an experience I had with focus groups.

Focus groups are a great way to get inside our patient’s heads and ask simple questions about what they like and do not like, and what their basic expectations of our dispensary are. When I was involved with a series of focus groups, I learned some interesting things.

One of the most memorable: What is the first thing patients notice about us when they walk into our dispensary? We all know that first impressions are crucial, and we have only one chance to make a great one! Did you know: In the first 2 to 4 minutes with our clients, 93 percent of our total image is visual, while only 7 percent is verbal? Our patients make many decisions about us based on their first impressions. These are examples of decisions based solely on our first impression: sincerity; professional rank in the organization; trustworthiness; social position; self-assuredness; and economic position.

Ms. Specs can’t help but wonder: Can anyone know these things about us based on 2 to 4 minutes, with 93 percent visual and only 7 percent verbal? I think not. However, you know the old saying, “perception is reality.” What the patient perceives might as well be the truth. With each encounter, our focus must be on projecting impeccable knowledge and service.

As I wondered what the most important part of the first impression encounter would be, I thought that the first thing our patients would notice about us is our fabulous eyewear! Surprisingly, it was not. According to our focus groups, the first thing they notice: Our nails and shoes! Nails and shoes tell a story. Our goal was to meet and exceed this expectation, so we decided to reward our opticians on occasion with a manicure or a shoeshine during working hours, with money out of petty cash. If there is not a petty cash fund, the company credit card will do. Yes, the team will have to work harder for the brief time the optician is out of the dispensary. However, they will know that their turn is next. A win-win: Our opticians get this occasional treat, and optical professionals will greet our patients with nicely manicured hands and well-kept shiny shoes. Of course, wearing exceptional eyewear is also a must!

Do you have tips on managing expectations with our patients? Please share! We may include your tip in a future column. Until then, Dear Readers, keep on being the optical rock stars that you are!

See Well and Be Well,
Ms. Specs in the City
Laurie Pierce, ABOM

Do you have a question for Ms. Specs? Please send your question to [email protected], and we may feature it in a future column.