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How an investment in equipment can create a more positive experience

Published on 9th November 2018

A trip to see any medical professional can be stressful. Most people reserve their nerves for the dentist, and are happy to see their optician – but what can you do about customers who are nervous of the optician – but who may be in desperate need of your services?

Most of us feel a little fear of the unfamiliar from time to time. Most adults can probably laugh off such feelings if they have them, but the young and some older people are wary of what should be a routine trip to the dentist, doctor or optician.

It can leave some so worried that they might avoid appointments altogether. Living with impaired vision, or worse, a degenerative disease that goes undetected can be the result.

Some surveys suggest that as many as one in five people become worried to some degree about visiting their optician. Clearly, there is a need to find ways of calming the nerves and helping worried clients.

What goes wrong for nervous customers?

It is all too easy to forget that some customers are nervous. Those who do not know what is going to happen when they come in for an appointment can find the simple business of waiting stressful. The idea of sitting in a chair and being examined can be daunting, and the business of having bright lights shone in the eyes and worries about what exactly might be involved when large pieces of equipment are rolled out takes the fear up to another level.

The basic eye chart may be familiar enough to most people, but a customer who has become tense or is desperate to get out of a stressful situation can find it difficult to give accurate responses. Simply getting the right prescription can become a real challenge for you.

Do you have nervous clients?

You are working with fundus cameras, retinoscopes and puff tests every day and, to you, they are just routine aspects of your work. It is all too easy to forget that for clients, and especially clients who may not have seen them before, they can be positively frightening.

Obviously, your approach will be key to easing their worries, and explaining exactly what is going on and why may do a great deal to calm nerves. A patient and reassuring tone can work wonders with clients who appear nervous.

Remember, most older people will have been to the opticians many times in their lives. While this should mean that they are not upset by the thought of an appointment, in practice, some may have become less confident as the years have gone by – and some will sadly have had negative experiences in the past.

Children represent a different challenge. Some can be wary of the unknown. Simply explaining what you are doing at each step, and reassuring them that the experience is actually interesting and fun can often go a long way to turning a wary young client into an optical enthusiast.

What about phobias?

Ommetaphobia, a phobia of things relating to the eyes, is fortunately not common but does exist. For those who suffer from it, it can mean a great deal of distress and can make a visit to the opticians an ordeal so great that they simply cannot manage it.

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. If you have or are referred a customer who suffers from this kind of phobia, the only approach might be to suggest they discuss the matter with their doctor, who might be able to provide advice on suitable treatment.

What else triggers a fear of the optician?

A fear that they might need to get glasses or contact lenses can be enough to deter some people from coming in for a consultation.

Glasses can mean a different look from what they are used to seeing in the mirror and may make some people feel self-conscious.

This could be an opportunity to sell contact lenses – or to use the latest equipment, such as smart mirrors, to provide a clear view of what glasses could look like.

The worry of answering eye test questions incorrectly

During a routine eye test, some people may well feel under pressure to answer your questions quickly, and can be left worrying that they might not have given the right answers - was that circle really clearer on the green? The latest equipment means that their answers are not all you have to rely on.

So what can help ease nerves?

Care starts from the moment patients come through the door. A friendly welcome from your receptionist, help with filling in registration forms and a bright and pleasant waiting area can all be valuable assets for easing pre-examination nerves. Providing some kind of distraction, such as magazines, can be effective and virtually free of cost.

However, it is in your examination room where you may need to invest. The latest instruments are less bulky and considerably less intimidating than older models. What’s more, they can be more accurate – for clients that panic about giving the right answers in an eye test, having more diagnostic data can be especially valuable.

Replacing puff air tests for glaucoma  - which many patients find upsetting -with new procedures such as OCT Scanning can also reduce stress.

Obviously, it is not just nervous clients who will benefit from upgrading your equipment in this way – but you may have fears of your own – about the costs involved.

As a professional with your own practice, it is actually easy for you to simply borrow the sums required. Lenders of all kinds will recognise your status and will even compete for the chance to lend to you by offering attractive rates.

But it is important to get the right kind of lending.

An Unsecured Business Loan is versatile. It can be used in any way that you wish and could let you cover the cost of equipment such as a new OCT system. However, we have found that a more cost-effective answer can often be provided by Asset Finance.

Asset Finance covers a number of funding types which are all secured on the equipment itself.

The simplest form of Asset Finance is Hire Purchase, which is simply a way of spreading the cost of buying equipment over up to five years. However, with more advanced equipment, you may run the risk of being left with models that are obsolete even before you make your final payment.

Leasing could offer a much more suitable solution. Leases work much like renting and let you bring in the equipment you need without having to buy it outright. Instead, a finance company buys the asset and charges you each month for using it. When the equipment becomes worn or is made obsolete by a new model, it can be easy for your practice to upgrade.

At Rangewell, we can help set up all types of business finance, and can work with you to find the most appropriate solution for your Asset Finance needs – whether you are looking for a new display for your frames or new instruments to make your consultation room more comfortable for clients.  

Contact us at Rangewell to see how we can help you cut the cost of taking the worry out of eye exams – and out of finding the funding you need.

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Richard Mitchell

Richard Mitchell

Content writer
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