I went to the local optician a couple of weeks ago. I had the usual eye test and photos taken of my retinas, and all was fine, except I needed to have my prescription changed. That would be the expensive bit.
Eye tests are cheap and cannot be profitable for an optician given the time they take. The value is selling the glasses or spectacles, and / or the contact lenses.
The local optician is a friendly place. We are greeted pleasantly, offered tea or coffee etc. and made to feel really welcome. I had my eye test and was ready to buy.
Customer in plain sight
I saw the lady who does the spectacle fitting and helps customers choose their frames. I knew I would have to shell out quite a lot of money with the list they had shown me. However, I will tell you a secret, though it may not be such a revelation if we have met. Anyway, here it is: I have quite a large head, which means I wear quite large sizes in hats and therefore in spectacle frame widths.
The lady could not find a frame in my size that I liked. In fact she had hardly any frames in my size. Now I would have thought that I could choose the style and she could order the frame and have the lenses fitted, but apparently not. She let me go without ordering and said she would check the other two shops they have for something suitable.
After ten days or so I popped back in the shop to see whether any suitable frames had been found. The lady knew roughly the style I had liked; that is inasmuch as one ever likes a new pair of specs. None had been found. I do not know if she had looked, but why not? After all I was a customer waiting to be reeled in for the sale.
Lack of vision
You will not be surprised to hear that rather than waste any more time I took my prescription to one of the larger chains of opticians and selected frames for them to fit with my new lenses. And do you know what? They cost 40% less than I had been prepared to pay at the local optician.
I often say that we need to make our clients and our potential customers feel wanted; to give them that warm feeling inside. I had that at my local optician, but they were not geared up to make the sale. It was not just a question of not being able to offer what I wanted and was willing to buy. They didn’t have what I actually needed.
How an earth can anyone run a business which takes great trouble identifying a need but then cannot deliver what the customer requires?
All small businesses need to deliver what they purport to offer, otherwise they will get a reputation as unreliable. The service needs to be seamless otherwise there will be tears and lost sales.
Does your business live up to your marketing promises? Does it do what it says on the tin?