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Information gathering is lacking, report finds.

THE RESULTS of a mystery shopping exercise have exposed a lack of thorough information gathering in independent practices, as reported at Independents Day on Monday (July 8).

Established by the event's organisers, Proven Track Record, findings revealed that during the dispensing process, 24% of opticians failed to ask about a patient's lifestyle and hobbies, while in the testing room 40% did not suggest any different lens options. Furthermore, in one third of cases, retinal photography was not offered, and 55% failed to mention contact lenses as a potential vision correction option.

The exercise, which involved 40 independent practices across the UK, was supported by Transitions and carried out by Shopper Anonymous this spring.

Speaking at the conference, managing director of Shopper Anonymous, Jonathan Winchester said: "People in the optical sector are very good technically, but when it comes to services and sale, the softer skills, we need to look at this."

The importance of providing patients with staff members' names and using patients' names when addressing them, both in person and on the telephone, was also highlighted as an area where there was room for improvement. Findings reported that 59% of staff failed to use their own name when answering the telephone and only 44% used the customer's name in conversation.

Practitioners from the practices which were mystery shopped were present in the audience when the findings were revealed and will receive one-to-one feedback on their results.

The theme of Independents Day 2014 will be 'Differentiate to survive.' The event will be held at the National Motorcycle Museum on July 7.

Emily McCormick

emilymccormick@optometry.co.uk

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Author:McCormick, Emily
Publication:Optometry Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 12, 2013
Words:267
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