Our website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your computer if you agree. These cookies allow us to distinguish you from other users of our website, which helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allows us to improve our site. Read more about the individual cookies we use and how to recognise them by clicking here.
By clicking "Allow Cookies" you agree to such use. Read more about the individual cookies we use, how to recognise them and how to withdraw your consent by clicking here.
For eye care professionals

What’s the ideal modern customer experience at an independent practice?

Can technology create the perfect modern consumer experience?

It’s no secret that great advances in medicine and technology have changed the landscape of healthcare over the last decade. Innovative diagnostic technologies such as wavefront aberrometry and optical coherence tomography (OCT), for example, have given independent ECPs access to multiple opportunities when trying to improve their practice facilities. 

However, how can these advancements translate into the perfect modern consumer experience? Well, personalised lenses, for instance, can help deliver vision clarity and comfort through highly precise digital measurements. But, this is a level of optometric technology that the average consumer doesn’t really know about, yet they expect it at the same time thanks to modern buying habits. It’s a tricky one, but one that we can certainly give you a hand with. Here’s how.

Ensuring quality from arrival  

Let’s envision, if you will, that from the moment a patient arrives at your practice, it’s kitted out with all the latest tech and gadgets. Firstly, they’ll be greeted by friendly and well-trained staff; this should be a given regardless. However, you may notice they might seemingly be in a bit of a rush. 

You see, patients today are no longer waiting to discover what could be potentially ailing them from their doctor. Instead, the modern consumer’s need for instant knowledge is seemingly satisfied by a quick Google search. The problem is, however, that not all information researched online, or even from outside sources, is relevant to the problem they might be experiencing. This ‘rise of the internet expert’ is something we’ve covered extensively here (needs to link to internet experts article). 

Yet, how do you change that consumer perception as an optometrist, if they believe they’ve already discovered a condition or ailment that fits their symptoms? It’s not something we can ignore — so we must educate instead. Through Essilor Bespoke, independent practices are fitted with what we call an Activ’screen. Essentially, it’s a digital display unit; but the content that comes with it can be tailored to your marketing needs. So, for instance, you can market to customers with an educational video either in or outside of your practice. 

As a loose example, the video can dispel some of the most common myths about eye health. Or, while waiting to be taken into pretesting, patients may also browse frames and come across other informational displays. These can help them learn about the many modern lens options available that complement their hobbies and lifestyle. It’s a simple but effective way to deliver instant content to state the modern consumers need for quick information, but in a safe way. 


Patient information is one of the essential aspects an ECP can have when recommending specific lenses and frames, and this is something that can be done before pretesting. It also serves to reassure the consumer that their needs are being taken seriously by their optician; helping to build trust in the process. 

As an example, hobby and lifestyle surveys can identify key visual issues patients may be challenged with in their everyday life. Have a think about what you could ask your patients to help you better understand their needs and requirements. Do they have any pre-existing conditions, what’s their occupation, do they spend a lot of time outside? These are simple questions but ones that can reveal much about a person's lifestyle. 

Efficient and paperless pre-testing 

Pre-testing is your opportunity to show just how far optometric technology has come and, to be honest, impress your patient. We know that the modern consumer loves efficiency: they want to be in and out as quickly as they can. With Essilor Bespoke, independent ECPs will gain access to the Wave Analyzer Medica 700, which performs seven tests in less that two minutes — from simulating a patients quality of vision to understanding their acute differences in day and night vision. It’s a brilliant piece of kit that emphasises quality and speed. You can find out more about it here

Now, you might say that this is a good opportunity to recommend specific lenses and frames depending on the results during pre-testing, but hold off for the moment. You’re midway through the patient’s exam, and the last thing they want is to be sold to while there’s still more testing to do. Gather the data, and wait until the dispensing area; when the patient isn’t stressing about regarding their potentially deteriorating vision. 

Careful refraction and eye health examination 

We don’t need to give you advice on how to conduct your eye exam, but do remember, this can be a good time for you to further familiarise yourself with the visual needs of the patient. For example, you can take that initial survey a little further here, and mine their lifestyle details. Do they have trouble seeing at night or in the rain, for instance? The answers to questions such as these can allow the optometrist to pinpoint not only the right prescription, but the right visual solution - whether that’s one lens or multiple. And after all, if you get this spot on first time round, they will be more likely to become a repeat customer.

Dispensing the best visual solution

Here, it’s best practice to educate the patient on which lens designs would fit your recommendations following the information gathered during the pre-test and eye exam. When discussing lens options, it’s often best to show, rather than tell, the patient how the lens will benefit them. But, it’s no longer enough to simply say “tell me what you think to these lenses”. This is sales: it needs to be an immersive experience. Otherwise, what’s to stop them going to a high street chain where they will receive the same service? Make it personal for them.

Lens benefits have now become incredibly advanced and, let's be honest, the average patient might not really know the difference between a lot of them. If you immerse them in a world where they can see for themselves the effect each lens could have, that would be incredible, right? Well, with the Nautilus the patient can be placed into a 360 degree reality or 3D virtual scenes set up and controlled by the optician’s iPad. Within these scenes, opticians can demonstrate the impact different lens designs would have on a patient’s vision. As a result, suggested lens options become more tangible, exciting, and easy to compare since the patient can experience them firsthand. You don’t get that in a high street chain. 


We can see during this article that, since the patient has walked through the door, their experience has been a personal one; fully unique to them. It’s not just another quick test and ‘buy one get one free’ experience. However, it’s important to continue this theme once the patient has chosen the lens that suits their needs. For them to experience true lens personalisation, they need the Visioffice 2. Essentially, it measures the physiological and behavioral parameters of their eyes: how they read a page in a book, for example. This translates into a bespoke pair of specs that are completely personalised to a patient's eyes. 

With the new digitally designed lenses of today, distortion, and fine blur are no longer an issue. But it’s no longer enough to simply rely on quality. The ideal, modern optical experience is all about personalisation, just as much as quality. It’s something that a patient simply can’t get online. 

However, it does involve education and the use of cutting edge diagnostic instruments and measurement technologies. The modern consumer is acutely aware of the copy-like nature of the retail industry: people look the same, dress the same, and behave the same. Yet, they want more and more things to become accessible and convenient. We know this as a supplier and manufacturer, and that’s why we have designed the systems, staff training protocols, and technologies to help create something completely unique for patients in the most efficient time possible: delivering the ideal customer experience in the process. 

From start to finish, upgrading each patient’s optical experience to one that’s both modern and memorable is completely achievable. To help you do this, just have a quick browse of how our Essilor Bespoke service. Or, to find more content just like this, all you need to do is pop to our Optical Industry Advice centre. 

Discover more from Optical Industry Advice

Understanding the future of optometry

Discover the changes needed to attract a digitally connected patient who expects a different type of optometric customer experience.

Learn more

Optometry marketing and business

Learn how marketing can support your optometry practice growth in an environment in constant evolution.

Learn more

Optical sales advice

Adapt your optometry practice and anticipate the present and future changes in the optics world.

Learn more