Remakes have been, continue to be, and probably will always be a sad part of our industry.
Depending on who you ask, remakes range from 5% to 15% nationally. Remakes are not only
costly and thus frustrating, but they're also a massive negative to your patient.
Let’s remember that your patient is actually a customer. Most importantly they are a customer that you would like to return to you over and over through their lifetime. Remakes for any reason cause your customer to spend the time that they most likely do not have to come back to your office with any problem, only to be followed up with another return visit to pick up their “fixed” pair of glasses.
Remakes also take up your and your staff's valuable time. The time that could be spent bringing in new business is being spent making an old job right. Whether it is an Rx issue, non-adapt to a progressive, base curve problem, material adaptation, or a simple fitting error, redos cost us all money and time. Regardless if your lab charges for the remakes or not, the truth is this: just like a head-butt, no one wins with a redo.
With all of this in mind let’s look at a few key ways to cut down on remakes.
Measure twice, cut once
My dad was a super handy dude and many would have considered him a master woodworker. As he tried and mostly failed to share his skill set with me, the one thing that stood out in my memory was the old saying of measure twice, cut once.
In woodworking if you measured wrong you had a 50% chance at cutting a little too long, which could be fixed with a simple second cut. Not so with PD and seg height measurements. There is no simple fix. Make it wrong and here comes a remake.
Take time to double-check all of your measurements. Your patient will appreciate you going the extra mile and so will your lab.
Know when to hold and when to fold
Sometimes it takes a true poker face to be successful when dispensing a new Rx or new style lenses. You are the professional and you need to remind your patient that you know what you're doing.
When you get some pushback on a new pair don’t just fold and go right for a remake. Double-check that the Rx and fit are correct, ensure them that it is, and then use your powers of persuasion to get them to try them out for a few days. A super slick trick is to have them wear their old glasses home and encourage them to try the new one in the morning with a fresh set of eyes.
However you go about it, an adaptation period is often needed. When you throw your cards in too soon, you're not doing your patient a favor. The new Rx and lenses you have picked for them are most likely just what they need. Moving back to their old lenses or Rx is a step back.
Take time to track your remakes and complaints about new glasses. You will find that many of these complaints will be based on 2 issues with their glasses – shape/size or weight. Styles change. Make sure your patient is aware at the time of purchase how these style changes could affect them.
Over the last year or so we have seen smaller, narrow B frames go out of vogue followed by larger, deep B frames become popular. While I dig the larger frame look it does not always work well for all patients. Larger frames result in more decentration that adds more thickness and weight to those with higher prescriptions. A simple warning to them on what to expect could make all the difference between a satisfied customer and a remake.
The deeper B frames also change the overall design of progressives. Many patients who have worn short corridor progressives are being moved into a longer corridor design and having issues finding their reading. To overcome this, utilize a short corridor or fixed corridor designs . If this is not what you're wanting to do then make sure to have a talk with them to set realistic expectations.
Warning signs are all around you
Pay attention to warning signs from your patient. Some like to complain just to complain. Others are giving you a glimpse of what your future will be like if you ignore the warnings they are giving you.
Example 1 A patient comes in and says they have never been able to read out of their progressives. While this could be that they are wearing an inferior design, it could also mean that they need a shorter corridor. I don’t care how good of a progressive you put them in, if they need a shorter corridor and you put them in a longer one they will never be happy.
Example 2 A new patient comes in and complains about having a problem cleaning old glasses. You figure that they are just complaining and put them into a super value non-glare. You had a patient give you a warning that you ignored and now they are not any happier with their new glasses than they were with their old ones. This was a perfect candidate for an ultra-premium non-glare and willing to pay the difference.
Listen for the warning signs and base your decisions and recommendations upon these warnings. Be creative with your problem solving and create happy patients and fewer remakes.
2 out of 3 is bad
Often there is more than one issue that drives a remake. Make sure you cover all bases before restarting a remake. One remake is bad enough, having to do 2 can often be a customer killer. Skilled troubleshooting is key to making sure there is only one remake.
Often a patient will come back with their new glasses complaining of an issue. Be careful not to jump to a solution that solved a problem months ago. Use your God-given investigative skills and dig. Your goal here is to find any and all issues that could be causing your patient to be back in front of you.
As I mentioned before, there is often more than one issue. Let’s look at an example –
A patient comes back after a few days with his new glasses that you fit him with using a premium digital progressive with Crizal coating. His major complaint is that he cannot see as clearly as he could with his old pair.
You instantly send him back to the doc for a recheck and sure enough, he comes back with a slight Rx change. You take his glasses and send them out to the lab and a few days later dispense his new glasses. 3 days later he is back complaining of the same problem. This time you dig a bit more and find that his old pair of glasses was a short corridor in a 5 base while the new ones are a regular corridor in a 7.5 base. While the new Rx might have been more accurate to his needs, it was not enough to overcome the other issues.
Win big or stay home
Plan each day to win. Give each patient your best! They deserve it and so do you, your owner, and your lab. Treat warranties as a backup for unknowns that are out of your control and not a safety net for poor performance.
As I mentioned earlier, no one wins with a remake. Do your best to spot issues and troubles before they can occur. Set expectations with your patient so that they know what is coming. Don’t let a major Rx change or lens design change be a surprise to them.
Letting your patient know what is coming will give them confidence that you know what you are talking about. This will make them more likely to trust you for any problem that comes next.
Let me leave you with this, John Wooden once said:
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
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