It’s never too late – or too soon – to make a change, as evidenced by Zacharia Naumann Optometry (ZNO) in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
Having just celebrated 19 years in business together, optometrists Zac Zacharia and Kathryn Naumann have invested in their shop, technology and staff and they’re looking forward to the future with optimism.
“Having survived years of drought, economic uncertainty and increasing competition, our old business model of trying to be all things to all people wasn’t having the impact it had pre- 2000… so just over two years ago we decided to re-evaluate and reset,” explained Ms Naumann. “After some soul searching and assessing industry trends we made a commitment to investing in technology and our culture.”
The catalyst for change came when, in 2018, ZNO was selected to pilot Rodenstock’s DNEye scanner. “Investing in the DNEye scanner enabled us to relaunch ZNO as a unique, independent practice where each client is valued and treated in an individual and unique way,” Ms Naumann said.
Mr Zacharia explained that the shop was remodelled, and the team provided with professional training to complement the investment.
“We used the fit-out week to really empower our team with technical education as well as personal development. This, along with our investment in technology and the fit-out, ensured the customer experience would be at the forefront of all we do.”
The ZNO team was inspired and supported by its ProVision business coach and Rodenstock as members worked to refine processes so their skills, technology and level of care would be showcased upon re-opening.
“It’s one thing to invest in technology but the true benefit of doing so is in its integration into every element of the customer journey, and its success is only possible when the whole team is on board,” said Ms Naumann. “We are very proud of our team’s commitment to their own personal development and customer engagement.”
In an effort to constantly improve on the way things are done in practice, Mr Zacharia says the team is encouraged to look for opportunities for business growth and personal development.
To that end, they undertook a DISC program. DISC is an acronym that stands for four main personality profiles: (D)ominance, (I)nfluence, (S)teadiness and (C)onscientiousness. By helping teams understand the DISC profiles of themselves and their colleagues, teamwork, communication, and productivity in the workplace can be improved.
“DISC profiling created a platform for understanding why communication styles need to be adapted when interacting with different personality types. This was a first step in understanding what makes everyone in the team tick,” Mr Zacharia said.
“The impact was immediate.”
Additionally, in 2020 ZNO’s practice manager attended a Gallup training course and became an accredited CliftonStrengths Coach.
“We use DISC to help us engage with clients and CliftonStrengths within our team. Focussing on strengths leads to a positive and empowered team. We embrace what we do well and celebrate what other team members excel in. It’s had a huge impact upon our culture and productivity.”
Indeed, Ms Naumann told mivision, “The process has been a game changing communication tool. We find that open conversations happen more frequently and there is genuine team trust.”
Lens First Dispensing
As part of its revitalisation, ZNO established a defined patient journey, which consists of different stations for each activity – from check in, to lens talks, and dispensing areas. “We also introduced lens first dispensing,” said Ms Naumann.
“We have a designated area where lifestyle considerations and lens options are discussed and demonstrated. Then, we select the lens design before we head into the frame area – as we all know, selling lenses requires a great deal of trust because it’s hard to demonstrate the difference between a premium and generic lens – it’s not until a pair of glasses is made up that the new owner fully appreciates the value of investing in a fully customised lens.”
Mr Zacharia said lens first dispensing often leads to a quality frame purchase because the patient starts to value quality. A good warranty programme supports each investment.
“We are excited about 2021 and the path we are on after the COVID hiccup. We now have a committed team, excellent supplier partnerships, access to outstanding technology and the support of a brilliant ProVision coach who will help us stay on track. With all of this in place, plus the ease of a new layout, there is a very high energy vibe when you enter the store.
“But the growth doesn’t stop here. We continue to learn a lot from feedback and are constantly revisiting our procedures so that we are efficient and remain committed to each individual’s specific needs,” he said.