Lens Express Sees Its Customers More Clearly (852 words)
From its palm-shaded headquarters north of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Lens Express Inc. sells more contact lenses than anyone else in the world—and it sells them directly to customers through catalogs, mailings, on the phone and via the Web.
The convenience of shopping direct and fast delivery is the main reason customers buy contact lenses direct. "It's mainly the service and convenience issues that keep customers coming back," according to Richard Kirsch, director, information systems, for Lens Express. Plus, Lens Express guarantees the lowest prices on any brand and prescription.
Since Lens Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Summit Technologies, opened its phone lines in 1986, it has grown from a couple hundred customers to more than 1 million. Its housefile database also has 5 million leads—people who've expressed interest (i.e., requested catalogs) but who have not yet bought.
The care of the customers and prospects in its database is of vital importance to Lens Express. Kirsch explains, "Most contact lens wearers know what they want and know when they want it. So customer service becomes a bigger issue." He adds, "Our system keeps track of when you buy, how often you change your lenses. When we think you're low, we contact you with a reminder—via e-mail, fax or mail."
About 10 percent of customers are on an automatic replenishment program. "To those customers who are not on automatic replenishment, we mail quite a bit," Kirsch says, noting that a reminder goes out every few months. "Our database is our business," he says. "It is 100 percent mission critical that it stays current, clean and compliant."
Address Accuracy Issues
Two hundred employees handle all operations at the Deerfield Beach facility including order entry, shipping, receiving, customer service and group sales. One hundred representatives process orders around the clock and mail out roughly 3,000 packages each day. Seventy-five percent of orders are mailed the same day they're ordered.