Interview with Dieter E. Mattern, master of optometry

Dieter E. Mattern, master of optometry, ophthalmologist and Master of Science in Clinical Optometry (USA) can always be won over for technical innovations in the area of optometry. His clients in Wiesloch and Sandhausen have therefore profited from the newest technologies, well trained and schooled employees, as well as valuing service for a long time.

Digital solutions: paperless comfort with precise diagnostics

opti: Mr Mattern, which modern technology can clients look forward to in your optical shops?

Dieter E. Mattern: We already invested in the first digital keratoscope in the middle of the 1990s in order to design the fitting of contact lenses as perfectly as possible for our customers. I consider myself a comfortable person, at least concerning handwritten work, which is why I always keep my eyes and ears open for technical simplifications for operational processes. As a result, our diagnostics equipment represents the most modern of digital technology. This appeals to our customers in the long-term and we are happy that they recommend us to others.

With the industry software, we keep track of customer data, the day's takings, inventory, and order processing including orders of glasses. The digital vision screening instrument is operated via iPad, and data from our lensmeter as well as the wavefront measurement device runs into a database through an additional software solution. The database also features an interface to the industry software, where the diagnostics pictures as well as scanned reports can be saved. However, with all digital technology it is important to me that the human eye checks everything for plausibility. I also like to use the option of exchanging ideas with colleagues when it comes to special optical challenges, using anonymised digital pictures.

opti: What do your customers expect from you these days?

Dieter E. Mattern: I think that we have found our niche in the market with our large selection of services, which I like to call lived optometry. And we surely have shown that we fill this niche very well by winning the award "1a Augenoptiker" (excellent optician), which the largest European industry information service "markt intern" awards annually to owner-managed companies, for the 12th time in a row in 2016. With our well-trained and competent employees, we also offer our customers very high professional qualifications. In order to retain this level, we regularly carry out internal trainings, but also use the training offers by manufacturers and suppliers.

We also intensively use the further training offers of the "Vereinigung Deutscher Contactlinsen-Spezialisten und Optometristen" (Association of German Contact Lens Specialists and Optometrists) as well as those of the "Wissenschaftliche Vereinigung für Augenoptik und Optometrie" (Scientific Association of Ophthalmic Optics and Optometry). Our extraordinary service lives on great appreciation, and we all invest a lot of lifeblood into this.

opti: How would you gauge the future influence of online sales?

Dieter E. Mattern: Products are replaceable, optimal services are not, and this is exactly how we set ourselves apart from online sales. Sometimes you have to explain to the customers that they should not compare apples and oranges, since no-name glasses from Asia cannot be compared with the precision and quality of German manufacturing. This is why we only work with brand glasses. As a pure offline glasses dealer, the cards are stacked against me, but as an optometric service provider, I have a lot of growth, that is how I see the market. Additionally, many customers still want to hold a product in their hands before purchasing it.

opti: What do you as an optician, optometrist and businessman expect from opti 2017 and the "Digital Solutions"?

Dieter E. Mattern: I am looking forward to seeing the newest digital technologies and will examine these carefully. If a device deserves my personal rating "nice to have", then it will not be long until I actually invest in it. I have handed over the good looks of our customers in the form of attractive frames to our female sales team members. I am much too fascinated by the advances of the technology and in order to play in the top league, you have to stay on the ball.

Dieter E. Mattern

Thanks to digital devices and compatible industry software, both of Dieter E. Mattern's shops "Optik Mattern" run the complete diagnostics, photo documentation, ordering and processing almost completely without paper. Dieter Mattern is a master of optometry, ophthalmologist and Master of Science in Clinical Optometry (USA).

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