Pearle Vision works to build patient trust, CMO says

Nearly half of Americans said their trust in the world has gotten worse, so Pearle Vision, recently ranked by Entrepreneur as the 24th franchise business in the country, has committed to build trust among patients.

Doug Zarkin, Pearle Vision’s CMO, spoke with Healio.com/Primary Care Optometry News about Pearle Vision’s business model and how they are working to implement this commitment.

Doug Zarkin
Doug Zarkin

PCON: How many Pearle Vision locations are there, and how many optometrists work there?

Zarkin: With an extensive footprint of nearly 600 neighborhood-based locations across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, Pearle Vision is proud to be among the strongest eye care network provider available. System wide, our business is involved with well over 1,500 independent doctors of optometry.

PCON: Why has the company decided to focus on building trust?

Zarkin: With the most powerful asset within the Pearle Vision brand being our neighborhood eye care experts, investing in deepening our understanding for how to strengthen the trust our team forms with their neighbors is not only sound business sense, it’s smart people sense. Our brand was founded by a neighborhood doctor (Dr. Stanley Pearle) who realized that he could become the neighborhood destination people trusted with their eye care and eye wear needs if he held himself and his staff to a standard of providing unmatched care. Over the last 5 years, Pearle Vision has elevated its commitment to genuine eye care and, with it, exploring deeply the emotional and intellectual components that lead to trust. Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to retention, which leads to a strong reputation at the local level as a brand that truly cares for the people behind the eyes.

PCON: What were some of the key take-home points of your survey results?

Zarkin: Trust took a hit in 2016. In fact, 43% of American’s say their “trust” in the world has gotten worse. Our study explored who and what we trust. Americans ranked their top three most trusted individuals, including their family and friends (93%) and, interestingly, doctors (87%). What we found exciting were the insights surrounding how trust is built. A comprehensive eye exam is not alone able to build trust. It’s the cost of entry. Our learning pointed to a need to focus on thinking small to win big-time trust. Overall, trust is built in small moments of care, personal connection and what we see.

For example, people said when doctors take the time to listen and understand what’s important to them, trust is built. What’s more, Americans trust what they see three times more than any other of their senses.

Trust is both based on what you see and what you feel. That’s why the eye care experts at Pearle Vision are so focused on earning a patient’s trust through small moments and personal connection ... so people can see for themselves what a difference that makes.

PCON: What will Pearle Vision do to build trust among its customers/patients?

Zarkin: [This] can be best summed up as the philosophy of caring about the people behind the eyes. For example, an integral part of how we reinforce our locally owned neighborhood-focused business model is our CORNEA program (community outreach that reinforces neighborhood eye care activities). Last year alone, our eye care experts executed over 420 CORNEA events (high school football games, health fairs, senior centers) where we provided free cleaning, adjustments and eye health screenings to our neighbors. It’s an opportunity to bring our eye care experts out of the four walls of their eye care center and into the community – a chance to get to know the people behind the eyes, so when you make the decision to trust your eyes to Pearle Vision, you are trusting them to people who have already shown you they care. That helps immensely to create and strengthen the trust that is so necessary in an amazing patient experience.

PCON: What goes into making Pearle Vision the 24th franchise business in the country? How does Pearle Vision exceed customer expectations?

Zarkin: If the expression is that it takes a village, for Pearle Vision it took a neighborhood: Incredible support from Luxottica and a 360-degree commitment from the eye care experts at our neighborhood Pearle Vision to execute on the ideals that power genuine eye care. From the exam room to the retail floor, product/operations/marketing all working together to drive an amazing patient experience and, with it, loyalty and profitability. Unmatched access to state-of-the-art lenses and the premier frames from some of the most popular brands. A consumer-centric approach to innovation, creating real value not just for our owners but for those looking for the highest standard of eye care and eye wear. Innovative integrated marketing that’s driving new patients into our eye care centers and a top shelf customer relationship management program to maximize retention and relationships with over 1 million people who trusted their eyes to Pearle Vision in 2016. In aggregate, what drives our success are the people at Pearle Vision. Pearle Vision is a brand centered around the eye care expert with a support model that is unmatched in our category and among the strongest franchise model, as reflected in our ranking.

Nearly half of Americans said their trust in the world has gotten worse, so Pearle Vision, recently ranked by Entrepreneur as the 24th franchise business in the country, has committed to build trust among patients.

Doug Zarkin, Pearle Vision’s CMO, spoke with Healio.com/Primary Care Optometry News about Pearle Vision’s business model and how they are working to implement this commitment.

Doug Zarkin
Doug Zarkin

PCON: How many Pearle Vision locations are there, and how many optometrists work there?

Zarkin: With an extensive footprint of nearly 600 neighborhood-based locations across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, Pearle Vision is proud to be among the strongest eye care network provider available. System wide, our business is involved with well over 1,500 independent doctors of optometry.

PCON: Why has the company decided to focus on building trust?

Zarkin: With the most powerful asset within the Pearle Vision brand being our neighborhood eye care experts, investing in deepening our understanding for how to strengthen the trust our team forms with their neighbors is not only sound business sense, it’s smart people sense. Our brand was founded by a neighborhood doctor (Dr. Stanley Pearle) who realized that he could become the neighborhood destination people trusted with their eye care and eye wear needs if he held himself and his staff to a standard of providing unmatched care. Over the last 5 years, Pearle Vision has elevated its commitment to genuine eye care and, with it, exploring deeply the emotional and intellectual components that lead to trust. Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to retention, which leads to a strong reputation at the local level as a brand that truly cares for the people behind the eyes.

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PCON: What were some of the key take-home points of your survey results?

Zarkin: Trust took a hit in 2016. In fact, 43% of American’s say their “trust” in the world has gotten worse. Our study explored who and what we trust. Americans ranked their top three most trusted individuals, including their family and friends (93%) and, interestingly, doctors (87%). What we found exciting were the insights surrounding how trust is built. A comprehensive eye exam is not alone able to build trust. It’s the cost of entry. Our learning pointed to a need to focus on thinking small to win big-time trust. Overall, trust is built in small moments of care, personal connection and what we see.

For example, people said when doctors take the time to listen and understand what’s important to them, trust is built. What’s more, Americans trust what they see three times more than any other of their senses.

Trust is both based on what you see and what you feel. That’s why the eye care experts at Pearle Vision are so focused on earning a patient’s trust through small moments and personal connection ... so people can see for themselves what a difference that makes.

PCON: What will Pearle Vision do to build trust among its customers/patients?

Zarkin: [This] can be best summed up as the philosophy of caring about the people behind the eyes. For example, an integral part of how we reinforce our locally owned neighborhood-focused business model is our CORNEA program (community outreach that reinforces neighborhood eye care activities). Last year alone, our eye care experts executed over 420 CORNEA events (high school football games, health fairs, senior centers) where we provided free cleaning, adjustments and eye health screenings to our neighbors. It’s an opportunity to bring our eye care experts out of the four walls of their eye care center and into the community – a chance to get to know the people behind the eyes, so when you make the decision to trust your eyes to Pearle Vision, you are trusting them to people who have already shown you they care. That helps immensely to create and strengthen the trust that is so necessary in an amazing patient experience.

PCON: What goes into making Pearle Vision the 24th franchise business in the country? How does Pearle Vision exceed customer expectations?

Zarkin: If the expression is that it takes a village, for Pearle Vision it took a neighborhood: Incredible support from Luxottica and a 360-degree commitment from the eye care experts at our neighborhood Pearle Vision to execute on the ideals that power genuine eye care. From the exam room to the retail floor, product/operations/marketing all working together to drive an amazing patient experience and, with it, loyalty and profitability. Unmatched access to state-of-the-art lenses and the premier frames from some of the most popular brands. A consumer-centric approach to innovation, creating real value not just for our owners but for those looking for the highest standard of eye care and eye wear. Innovative integrated marketing that’s driving new patients into our eye care centers and a top shelf customer relationship management program to maximize retention and relationships with over 1 million people who trusted their eyes to Pearle Vision in 2016. In aggregate, what drives our success are the people at Pearle Vision. Pearle Vision is a brand centered around the eye care expert with a support model that is unmatched in our category and among the strongest franchise model, as reflected in our ranking.