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Ever since I left the comfort of the steady paycheck to forge my way trying to build a company with an old friend, I started giving blood regularly. Every eight weeks I head to the Red Cross Blood Donation Center in Bloomington, Minnesota and open up a vein. I've learned a lot in the process about humanity -- and even more about effective tracking processes.

Each and every one of the people running these online eyeglasses establishments ought to go give blood -- today, like put down whatever you're doing and dial 411 for the nearest location. I think they might notice a few ways to make a big difference in their businesses. The Red Cross Blood Donation Centers are a people-heavy workplace, but the procedures that they've implemented protect against a few of the things that all businesses must address with their people:

  1. Complacency
  2. Staff turnover
  3. Bad press
  4. Customer dissatisfaction
  5. Legal "difficulty"

You retailers are delivering a solid product at a good price, but you can do more to make the process accessible to the millions yet to punch up your URLs. There are mixed reviews for all of you. I, like the vast majority of people, have had great success and will never go back to the mall, but I've never once felt like I knew when my new glasses would arrive.

I've been asking for retailer reviews since the site started in November, 2006 and one of the pervasive themes is that there is little by way of notification of the status of orders. Often, even a call to customer service will yield at best, little more than frustration and a sense that no one seems to give a damn, and at worst hostility.

One of the things that the internet affords us is efficiency through the use of software. It's possible that all but the most incredible need for customer service can be handled in an automated fashion. After some of the calls I (and others) have had to endure, it'd be a better alternative to the current condition.

Here are the basics that NEED to happen:
  1. Send an order confirmation with expected timeframes, contact information, prescription verification and billing information
  2. Define the production stages and log events when the glasses enter and exit each of these stages
  3. Create a way for your customers to get status of their orders online -- whenever they want it
  4. Email the customer upon shipment of the order -- again with contact information

As a retailer you're going to get three VERY IMPORTANT returns on this investment; actionable statistical information, happier customer service people, and repeat customers -- and additionally some really solid press on a blog called "GlassyEyes".

Without it, you're going to be the butt of many posts in forums like these.

Before you go, sign up for my feed! If you have a feed reader, sign up by clicking here, or enter your email address in the box below to start getting GlassyEyes posts delivered to your inbox. You'll never get any spam, and each email includes an unsubscribe link (that really works!). Thanks!


At November 10, 2008 at 10:20 PM mjb said...

I read your RSS feed all the time and I was shocked and amazed that:
1) you live in MN
2) you give blood at the same donation center I do
3) I'm going there tomorrow and you mentioned it.

Did you know that Credit Card company is in Eden Prairie?

Anyway, I'm like an inexpensive glasses evangelist, and I always give people two websites to check out. Goggles4u, and glassy eyes.

Keep up the good work!


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