There is an old adage about how you should plan your business model using just these three words—quality, service, and price. The maxim goes on to state that you will need to focus your business around just two of these concepts because you cannot excel at all three. Quality, service, and price are claims that many businesses have used for a long time. Unfortunately, they don’t work anymore because consumers have become numb to such common and empty rhetoric. Who wouldn’t make that claim? Don’t customers already assume that businesses offer quality products and good, or at least adequate, service? Claims of quality and service can be unique only if you are able to show why yours is outstanding compared with those of your competition.

No Company Can Compete with All Three
The same holds true for price. Unless you’re selling a commodity item, people generally make purchase decisions based on the value of goods or service versus cost alone.

No company can successfully compete (at least not for long) by having the lowest price, the best service, and the highest quality. If you lead with low prices doesn’t that necessarily mean you have to limit quality or service? The price needs to be competitive if you don’t have a very unique product.

Take a look at the largest retailer in the world. Walmart is a perfect example to support that suggestion. Sam Walton built his business around the model of “quality name brands at everyday low prices” and yes, Walmart does that very well. The motto has no mention of service, and I wouldn’t accuse anyone there of providing service, at least in my experiences while shopping there…unless you consider the greeters at the front door.

But we in the eyecare/eyewear business are a rare type. We are a mix of healthcare provider and fashion retailer. Is service our only concern and responsibility? Isn’t it possible, in our field, to do all three well? Or at least prioritize them in a manner that doesn’t distract us or the patient of why we are there, to restore, maintain, and enhance vision. Don’t our patients have a right to expect all three, in some portion and in some balance? Or must the retail optical business adhere to the same rules as everyone else that is in competition?

How Do You Rank Quality, Price, and Service
I have often asked eyecare professionals what they thought they do better or different than all the other places in town where you can get eye exams and glasses. Mostly their responses have to do with service. They will proudly declare without hesitation, “We offer the best service to our patients. They like us and keep coming back.” So now let us ask you. How would you rank Quality, Price, and Service in your practice?

Participate in the survey below:

We will discuss the results in the next edition of Vision Care Venture.

Brad Main, FNAO, is Manager, Training and Technical Resources for HOYA VISION CARE, North America. Contact feedback@visioncareventure.com with comments and/or suggestions for future topics.


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