Interview with Rainer Sigmund

The customer is king, and he expects eyeglasses that are not only beautiful and perfectly fitting, but are also perfectly and professionally adapted to his eyes. Rainer Sigmund is an optician from Sindelfingen who still produces some of his products manually.

The wavefront of new-generation measurement devices has of course set the course for digitization, but a few, less technophilic entrepreneurs, like Sigmund, would like more support in the digital transition.

Digital restructuring: what entrepreneurs wish for

opti: Mr. Sigmund, what do customers nowadays expect from their trusted optician?”

Rainer Sigmund:
What I experience, and that which is mirrored to me, has a lot to do with time and enthusiasm. Customers want to feel well, and I always ask myself how I can continue to surprise my customers in the future, and keep them hooked to our services.

A digital visual test device, which is soon set to replace the bunch of letters and numbers that I still have on my wall, is already in mind. Unfortunately, our premises pose an extra challenge, but I remain hopeful for competent support from the manufacturers. For non-technophiles like me, some guidance in the digital restructuring would be of great help.

opti: How do you envisage this "guidance"?

I once attended a training where I was fascinated by a presentation from a young optician who specializes in contact lenses. For him, viewing the retina using a fundus camera is a free service for his customers. He scans deep into the eyes of all his customers, with the motto "we want our customers to remain healthy."

I found this health check to be very fascinating, and I would also like to include something like that in my service portfolio. Seeing photos of your own retina on a big screen is really impressive. So I asked the colleague if he would be okay with hosting me at his practice for a day.

That would, at least for me, be a very helpful form of guidance. To be able to look over the shoulders of someone at work would be a great learning experience for me. And this way, I might be more motivated towards further digitization.

"Customer loyalty thanks to comfortable overall packages"

And what benefits do you expect form such state-of-the-art digital services?

The retina tells us a lot. Its regular monitoring is important, particularly for diabetic patients. In addition, other retinal illnesses can also be diagnosed. Close cooperation with local opticians would be conceivable for me.

I expect a great deal of trust and close loyalty from my customers through this comfortable overall package. But that does not replace the humanity of our team, which will always come first.

I am simply not a man of numbers, and therefore only use the possible evaluations of our merchandise management system rudimentarily. For me, personal contact and customer care through a little extra attention are much more important.

Once again, allow me to refer to a nice idea from a different presentation: The use of a sweet mail to invite the customer to pick up their new glasses. With a photo of the new fitting placed on chocolate as a customized banderol. I will therefore not rely solely on the digital experience in the future.

opti: As an optician, what do you expect from opti 2017, with its "Digital Solutions"?

My entire team and I will drive to Munich, with the focus being on further digitization of my diagnostics, even though discovering crazy eyewear models from innovative manufacturers is much more fun.

Rainer Sigmund

Rainer Sigmund is an optician and runs the business "Augenblick Optik" in Sindelfingen.

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