Dear Ms. Specs in the City,

Now that we are taking extra steps to sanitize our frames once the patient tries them on, I feel overwhelmed when they touch multiple pairs. One patient tried on over 30 pairs and did not even purchase one! Do you have any tips for controlling the try-on procedures?

Thank you,
Sick of Sanitizing in Sacramento

Dear Sick of Sanitizing in Sacramento,
I must say that I have been surprised at the posts and pictures on optical social media regarding this issue. We all are trying our best to thrive and stay positive during this challenging time.  

It is crucial that we make the patient feel welcomed, wanted, safe and comfortable during the entire frame selection and dispensing procedures. We want our patients to feel like valued guests and important to our business. Ms. Specs recommends implementing a plan to minimize trying on excessive numbers of frames, while adding value and professionalism to the frame selection experience.

When I managed an optical boutique in Boston, we had a strategy to make the frame selection process professional, meaningful and precise. Before beginning frame selection, we sat with the patient at the dispensing table, analyzed their Rx and discussed the most important part: lenses. When we agreed on the best optical solutions for their visual needs, we then explained the frame cosmetics relative to face shape and skin tone.

The script went something like this: “Mrs. Jones, frame selection is an art based on face shapes and color tones. Would you like me to analyze whether you are cool toned or warm toned?” The overwhelming majority of our patients said yes, and they were delighted to have this extra information to help them with their wardrobe as well.

Once we draped them with specially made fabrics, they too could see the difference in their skin tone and all-around effect of matching color tones to one’s skin (If you are interested in how to get a set, reach out to us, and I will follow up with you). Then, we analyzed their face shape and explained our goal of achieving an oval shape, a balanced look. This was all done before picking up one frame! Once we determined their tone and face shape, we continued: “Mrs. Jones, I know exactly what you need.  Please relax while I bring some options to you.”

We brought four frames to them. The first, perfect for optics and cosmetics, and the one usually selected. The second, on purpose, is the opposite of the first. If they are a warm-tone oval, select a frame designed for a cool-tone round face. They will immediately see the difference and trust that you are not telling them that “everything looks good on them.” Third, a frame that goes a little outside their comfort zone in a fashion-forward style, complementing their coloring and face shape. Ms. Specs delights in helping people stretch their mindset and getting a showstopper design! Fourth, an Rxable sun—a very important addition to an optical wardrobe.

I know you understand the art of frame selection but wonder if our patients know this. By demonstration, they are more likely to trust our professional fashion suggestions. There are many tutorials that help with the “the rules and technical aspects.” I recommend the text, “System for Ophthalmic Dispensing,” chapter 4.

And finally, Dear Readers, make it fun! Selecting eyewear is stressful even in normal times. Adding phrases like “You look fabulous!” during the selection can help lighten the mood.

Keep being the Fabulous Optical Rock Stars that you are and stay well.

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

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