Article

VISUAL MERCHANDISING

High Tech + High Touch

Bringing the ZEISS Experience to life…from concept to creation

family Eyecare of Glendale, AZ, didn’t just relocate in 2011. It became the first ZEISS Experience practice in the United States.

What is the ZEISS Experience? According to ZEISS, it “brings together the key elements of 21st-century eye care—highly trained eyecare professionals, cutting-edge technology, and innovative products—all delivered with a futuristic look that is at once high-tech and welcoming. It combines personal eye care with customized eyewear.”

FANTASTIC VOYAGE

Why was Family Eyecare ready for such a voyage into the future? Partly because owner David Kaplan, O.D., had analyzed the optical landscape and realized business wasn’t going to grow into the future by embracing the status quo.

“We had developed a large medical eyecare practice incorporating the latest technologies, with a well-trained staff that was well schooled in customer service,” notes Dr. Kaplan. “Despite this, our bottom line and professional satisfaction were under assault from economic pressures created by decreasing insurance reimbursements and increasing competition.”

DESIGN & DIFFERENTIATION

The transformation began with months of researching and brainstorming. Family Eyecare focused on two key strategies: to offer innovative products in a unique environment, and to create an educational program that would ensure patients understood the quality of services and value of products they were offered.

On the new design, Dr. Kaplan explains, “European flair is the skeletal platform around which our patient experience was built.” Beyond visual impact, the initial design and subsequent upgrades would need to meet three goals:

  • BRANDING. “[The design] needed to define and enhance the brands of both Family Eyecare of Glendale and ZEISS, as well as imbue perceived value in our products and services,” says Dr. Kaplan. Thus, the design is modular, with each area of the practice designed to provide a specific aspect of the patient experience.
  • REVAMPING. “It’s an ongoing process,” stresses Dr. Kaplan. “For example, we consider our website and message-on-hold to be virtual modules of our physical design. They provide an overview of our services, products, and staff, and are usually the first point of contact patients have with us. With this in mind, in 2016, a great deal of time and effort was devoted to revamping these areas.”
  • TOUCH POINTS. Even more changes are in store for 2017. “The waiting room, scheduled for redesign this year, will serve as our main point of product education,” explains Dr. Kaplan. “The dilation area, also being revamped in 2017, will serve as the main loci for health education. And, audiovisual media in these areas will be combined with other educational platforms, such as our ZEISS Experience passport, to enhance the patient experience,” he notes.

The stunning optical area of Family Eyecare

The high-tech experience begins at reception

INTEGRATING PRODUCT

“The optical remains the heart of that patient experience,” says Dr. Kaplan. “Its unique design has a dramatic visual impact and allows for easy showcasing of frames, lenses, and technology, such as the ZEISS i.Terminal 2.”

Another major bonus is how education ties in with the wealth of new products from ZEISS. “The education component of our ZEISS Experience, combined with the explosion of lens technology, designs, and coatings from ZEISS, provide a unique patient experience…and allow us to move away from a world of lens commodity to one of customized optical solutions specific to each patient’s visual needs,” says Dr. Kaplan.

The bottom line? “Our patient volume is up and doctor and patient satisfaction is high,” he shares. “We’ve just added a fourth provider and soon will be adding a fifth optician. Our unique relationship with ZEISS has allowed us to differentiate ourselves in an increasingly competitive market. Today, different is not only better, it is essential for success.”

—Stephanie K. De Long