A major contributor to controlling costs is controlling lens remakes. Remakes cost your business a lot of money, not to mention the hassle for the patient and the staff. The cost of goods (COGs) increases each time an order is remade. Shipping costs are typically charged for every order. Most labs charge for any remake reason that isn't covered under a warranty or is the fault of the optical practice. Labor costs increase as more time has to be spent on correcting a job.
FROM 15 TO 5 PERCENT
It's estimated that 15 percent of all spectacle lens orders from optical labs require remakes. This occurs because of inaccurate measurements, transcription errors, warranties and occasionally, because of lab mistakes. In well-managed dispensaries, it's possible to achieve a remake ratio of 5 percent or less. In poorly managed dispensaries, the remake ratio can reach 20 to 25 percent. (Best Practices of Spectacle Lens Management)
Beyond the immediate costs associated with reordering a job, more long-term effects can occur. Your patients come to your practice expecting professional quality and service. When a job has to be remade, it can often shake the faith your patient has in the competence of your practice. If their patience is pushed to its limit, they may even opt to shop at a competitors' practice instead. It's difficult to track reasons why a patient doesn't return, but preventing any issues that would mar their confidence will help you maximize patient retention.
The benefit of keeping patients is obvious. The average patient is "valued" at about $7,000 over the course of their time at a practice (52 years, new eyewear every two years at $262 average). This is significant. If an office with 4,000 active patients and a 2.5 percent defection (patient loss) rate loses approximately $12,500 annually (taking into account an annual $125 per patient profit), what a difference it would make to maintain even half of those patients! Inevitably, some patients will leave due to insurance changes or other reasons, but your practice can prevent significant losses by reducing remakes. By learning proper optical habits and promoting them in your practice, you can save a great amount of time, money and frustration.
IT STARTS AT THE SALE
Remake reduction starts at the time of the sale. Preventing these common mistakes while accurately pinpointing the needs of the patient will help gain their trust and produce a beautifully correct pair of eyewear. Implement these tips and troubleshooting guides to help control this significant variable in your practice. Develop strong optical habits to prevent remakes before they occur. Accurate measurements, proper frame fit and correct lens choices all go into creating eyeglasses perfectly suited for your patient. Knowledge of the patient's current habitual pair of glasses can greatly impact your success in producing a new pair they love. And they'll love you for it.
Part Two of this series provides tips for reducing remakes with Accurate Measurements.
Bethany DeWolfe, ABOC is an optician in Greensburg, Pa. She joined the optical industry 10 years ago, training under Pittsburgh's optical elite. She is currently managing an independent optical store specializing in unique frame selection and quality on-site lab work.