I’m sure the last pair of Christian Louboutin shoes you bought came from a drive through shoe store. Perhaps the best filet mignon you’ve ever had came from a drive-through restaurant. Maybe you regularly use a drive through to have taxes done every quarter. I sincerely doubt it.
A drive-through can be a wonderful convenience. Know exactly what you want from a fixed menu of options? A drive through works for the quick burger, cola, fries, or even making a deposit at the bank. Want a meal made to order? Park and walk in. Want a bank loan? Park and walk in. Want to try on a pair of shoes? Park and walk in. Want to have your eywear fit correctly? Park and walk in.
There has been a number of stories about the “first” eyewear drive through pick up service recently. While the first we know of was in Pasadena, California when Linden Optometry moved into an old bank building, a recent story about My Eyelab in League City, Texas has garnered quite a bit of attention. We applaud anyone thinking outside the box and doing something unique. We truly do.
However, we wonder what is accomplished by adding a drive-through lane at an optical.
Yes, it is certainly easier to pick up a contact lens renewal without having to park and walk in. With the profit margins on contact lenses already so slim, why would you not want to capture an add-on sale? Contact lens solution, sunglasses, or even showcasing the new Transitions contact lenses for outdoor fun?
Dispensing eyeglasses? Being in the eyecare business, I’m sure you’ve noticed it takes a little bit of effort to pop the demo lenses out of a frame and fit the finished lenses into the frame. Not to mention the man or woman handling that goes on as a regular part of the lab. Every pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses I’ve received over the past 20+ years has always needed some sort of adjustment after the lenses have been installed. How do you do that in a drive-through?
What makes most local ECPs different than the discount online dispensers of eyeglasses is the service and expertise of custom fitting every pair of eyeglasses and, sunglasses. It’s being there to answer questions and offer advice as to how to care for that new pair of eyewear. It’s the personalized touch and service that makes the local ECP an asset. While it may make a cute story sending a pair of eyeglasses through a pneumatic tube to a waiting car, that customized care quickly becomes nothing more than a commodity, making the race to the bottom that much easier.
Drive-through pick-up makes for great headlines but not so great service. In a business built on service, we should be doing what we can to build up and promote that service, not erase it.
Thank you….come again…