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Dear retailers -- big and small,

Let me start with a bit about fish...

There is a place I used to go to in my neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota that had the best walleye. Their claim to fame was (and still is) that Mikhail Gorbachev ate walleye there the first trip he made to the United States back at the end of the Cold War. The walleye was very good and the service was very bad -- consistently so. So consistent, that we continued to go as much out of curiosity as convenience. Each time we went for drinks or lunch, it was as bad or worse than the previous time. There was something to be said for their approach to service. It was almost charmingly unprofessional -- and then I grew up. I haven't been back since.

Onward to the eyeglasses...

Before I get too far, let me state that out of the dozen or so pairs of eyeglasses I've received, only one pair had anything wrong with the prescription. That may be due to me checking each number of my prescription three or four times before I hit submit, knowledge I've gained in the past nine months in this arena, or luck (which hasn't been great lately in other aspects of my life). Regardless of the reasons, I've been really happy -- or I wouldn't be touting you guys like I have been. Perhaps you've noticed?

Buying eyeglasses is not meant to be a charming endeavor (save for a few quaint boutiques if money is no object). Buying them online at an affordable price, even less so -- but why? Think of the good will you as a retailer have a chance to cultivate. Think of the return visitors and that there could be more like me standing on the mountain tops screaming to everyone who is within earshot about you.

The majority of the people internet-literate enough to wade through this process are likely to have enough cash, sense, and (if they're reading this blog) good taste to return to buy more. They'll tell their friends how great you, even if the first pair they buy are broken or wrong in some other way -- if the issue is dealt with professionally and efficiently.

It isn't THAT difficult, and should be of paramount concern to you, to make sure that the stuff you are shipping out is correct. If it's not, don't argue with the customer... Never do that! Send a corrected pair out, and tag it for production in such a way that the jackass who blew the last set isn't connected to the replacement pair in any way -- and MAKE SURE someone who is accountable looks them over and checks the prescription and build before they go out (People are writing to me about replacement pairs showing up with identical build errors!).

Seriously, a replacement $20 pair of eyeglasses (even $25 with shipping) is a very wise investment -- especially with a site like this out here. One thing is certain, people are even more likely to complain loudly than they are to compliment and when it's done in the forums here about your site, it WILL hurt you -- and try to big picture this with me... the entire industry. I realize you are all in competition with each other, and that things will shake out over the next few years, but you're hurting more than yourself when you behave badly.

Those websites...

Viewing the design and trying to read the text on some of these websites (I'm talking to you Zenni, O4L, and Global EyeGlasses) has been shown to cause eyes to bleed and perhaps even bring about mild strokes -- at least this has been my experience.

I beseech you to consider hiring someone who can handle basic conversational English to monitor this and other forums online to identify and address issues quickly (and allow them to give the website a "once over"). Each spelling or usage error on the site will turn off a certain number of people. If they question your ability in any way, they'll move on to the site that doesn't contain obvious errors.

I hope that at least some of you read this and begin to (or continue to) respond to your customers with consistent, professional improvement.


Ira Mitchell

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At June 27, 2007 at 10:18 AM Gabby EBD said...

Hi Ira,

First and foremost let me introduce myself, I'm Gabby, one of the customer service representatives from EyeBuyDirect. I'd like to thank you for your contributions to the optics industry, especially informing the public on how they could save heaps on quality online prescription eye glasses.

I do agree with you with regards to making companies more visible to their customers and that's why I'm here. I will be able to answer concerns directed to EBD or any general concerns people have with regards to prescriptions and frames.

People can reach me through my personal e-mail if they have any questions. Thank you and have a wonderful day!


At June 29, 2007 at 6:13 PM Anonymous said...

hi Ira

Can you give some suggestions on how people can carefully check that the product matches the prescription given?


At July 7, 2007 at 9:04 AM Anonymous said...

One thing I would like to see on these websites is an easy method to find out all the new frames available since the last time I looked.


At May 7, 2008 at 3:15 PM Anonymous said...

i would like to get info on the XX,&XXX sized frames easily????

At July 5, 2010 at 10:03 PM Anonymous said...

Global Eyeglasses sells crap!! their 100% guarantee is for 7 Days!!!
They only take Pay Pal which does not allow for any quality problems, just delivery. I called and emailed global several times about a eyeglasses frame that snapped off while I was trying to adjust it for a comfortable fit.
By the time I went back to Pay Pal, they said it was over the 45 day limit for refund. Then I found the second pair of glasses were also junk..that is when Pay Pal said there is on recourse for quality problems. Do not pay for anything with Pay Pal that is not backed upped like Ebay.


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