BUSINESS: The Independent Eye: Optical on Main Street Communication and Creativity Keep Patients Coming Back to Boston’s Envision By Gwendolyn Plummer Wednesday, October 28, 2020 10:32 AM NECO graduate Jaclyn Garlich, OD, FAAO, purchased Envision on Jan. 1, 2020. Image courtesy of Envision. BOSTON—When Jaclyn Garlich, OD, FAAO, purchased her practice, Envision, on Jan. 1, 2020, this was definitely not the year she was expecting. A graduate of the New England College of Optometry, Dr. Garlich had been working at Envision, located in Boston’s Financial District, since 2018, before she purchased the practice. Now, as practice owner and optometrist, she and her team are working their way through a pandemic both in-store and online. As an independent practice, Envision is dedicated to crafting the perfect individualized approach. This, Dr. Garlich said, hinges on communication above all else. She told VMAIL, “The way you communicate with your patients both in the exam room and via email and social media is what truly differentiates you from someone else. I approach every patient interaction as if I'm talking with a friend and I rarely begin my exam with questions about a patient's eyes. I ask how they're doing, what's new in their life and we go from there." This personal connection is vital within the practice, where the Envision team prioritizes stocking independent brands that are able to connect with the customer on a personal level as well. Vendors such as Barton Perreira, Blackfin, Cutler & Gross, Etnia Barcelona, Oliver Goldsmith, Orgreen, and SALT are mainstays of Envision’s optical, and Envision offers personal frame styling both in-store and online.Envision is located in Boston’s Financial District. Image courtesy of Envision.An independent practice, Envision prioritizes stocking independent eyewear designers. Image courtesy of Envision. In fact, online communication is something Dr. Garlich excels at. She explained, “I'm also very intentional with how I communicate with patients via email and social media to make sure that it sounds less like it's coming from a business and more like it's coming from a friend. Making those genuine, personal connections with patients is invaluable.”With nearly 2,500 followers on Instagram, it can’t always be easy to make communication feel personal and genuine, but Dr. Garlich has found her niche there. Her posts are educational and informative, sharing important eye health facts and a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of an optometrist. But they have a personal touch, too—showing Dr. Garlich as more than just the doctor patients see in the exam room. She told VM, “I use social media almost exclusively for education purposes. I'm not on social media to try to sell frames or tell you about our trunk shows. I'm there to offer useful advice on ocular health and to let patients get to know me better. It's sometimes hard to measure ROI on social media but it is one of my most valuable connection tools.”And right now, of course, connecting with patients far and wide is more important than ever. Like most businesses, Envision has seen a decline in patient visits since the start of the pandemic—but Dr. Garlich has found a silver lining in it all. She said, “There has been a significant reduction in patient volume so as a brand new owner, it's not been an ideal first year of ownership. But the silver lining is it has made me adapt quickly. I made adjustments to my daily schedule to maximize my fewer patient interactions, added telemedicine visits, and increased communication with our patients so they would feel safe coming to the office.” As with everything else at Envision, surviving this pandemic has hinged upon the invaluable importance of personal, genuine communication. “This is a hard time but when your focus is on genuinely helping someone, you will always have a stream of patients coming in… If you can provide value or make someone's life a little easier, they will continue to come back,” Dr. Garlich. Dr. Garlich is active on social media, especially Instagram, where she shares educational information and a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of an optometrist. Image via envisionboston on Instagram. “I use social media almost exclusively for educational purposes. I'm not on social media to try to sell frames or tell you about our trunk shows. I'm there to offer useful advice on ocular health and to let patients get to know me better,” Dr. Garlich said. Image via envisionboston on Instagram.