A Good Customer Experience Never Gets Old

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Spoiler alert: Although Millennials have been categorized, dissected and often generalized in recent years, we’re still individuals, and I’m a Millennial with an old-fashioned streak. While I love a well-curated Instagram page, a good Facebook lurk session and getting news updates on my Twitter feed, I still prefer shopping in-store and feel most comfortable making appointments by phone. I know—shocking!

Stepping into a brick-and-mortar location and engaging with people and product is very important to how I process information. These habits are applicable especially when it comes to my personal experiences in optical like picking out new frames and getting my annual eye exam (which I’m overdue for—sorry).

In both of last year’s cover stories on independents as well as our reoccurring VMail Weekend feature, Optical on Main Street, and during the panel that I co-hosted during Vision Expo East, I’ve been in touch with many interesting, innovative independent ECPs, always learning more about how they appeal to customers and create unique environments.

When I was younger, I was surrounded by a very ‘shop local’ and ‘support local’ optical environment. I remember feeling comfortable enough around my optometrist and optician to pick their brains and trust their style judgment. In high school, I even went to them to sell ads for my yearbook.

The ways in which many consumers are now shifting is reminiscent of that very experience. Shoppers aren’t just looking for product, they’re looking for that entire package of unparalleled customer experience too. The “Cheers” environment where everyone knows your name is back, but this time around they probably know your Instagram handle and email address too.

Main Street continues to thrive and adapt, melding the old with the new and sometimes remixing it completely to suit its respective communities.

jwilson@jobson.com