“The No. 1 struggle for independent eyecare professionals today is retaining and hiring staff,” said Sharon Martin, senior marketing operations and communications manager at ABB Optical. “Inflation is the highest it’s been in years and the economy has impacted practices as such. We have seen a steady interest in education and more recently, a larger interest in opportunities for staff training due to the increased issues related to staff turnover. Education is an important focus for us, and it’s essential that we provide solutions and support that help drive efficiencies and productivity to help our customers with this challenge.”

In addition to offering staff training resources which are available live, virtually and through prerecorded videos, ABB Optical is focusing on providing education on business solutions, specialty contact lenses such as dry eye and scleral lenses, direct delivery, annual supply and direct-to-patient shipping.

Erika Jurrens, senior vice president of strategic development and commercialization for ABB Optical, said, “We have an experienced team of specialty vision consultants to help our customers with specialty lens consultation, educational opportunities and valuable resources to grow their specialty lens practice. These virtual webinars are available on our website at https://www.abboptical.com/practitioner-resources/abb-resource-library#accordion-header-resources3. All of these topics revolve around driving growth, value and efficiencies, which are critical for our customers’ success.”

The company has also launched a new video series and podcast called “Dede Talks: The Art of Specialty Lenses,” hosted by Dede Reyes, FCLSA, professional education consultant, specialty vision products. (https://abboptical.com/practitioner-resources/dedetalks) “Fitting specialty lenses is as much an art as it is a science,” Reyes said. “During these monthly episodes, I talk with a specialty lens expert and a featured artist to explore the many facets of specialty lenses. We also dive into the featured artist’s portfolio to showcase the many talents of ECPs across the country, including a variety of artistic mediums, such as painting, photography, food, sculptures and more.”

The team responsible for education is keeping busy. “We are creating and optimizing educational content for staff and practitioners quite often,” Martin said. Areas of focus include:

• Peer-to-peer advocacy in the form of customer testimonials. These testimonials are having a positive impact and the company is looking to expand this tool.

• Resources for new staff training, frame selling, and how to talk with patients as buyers inside an optometry office are also being developed.

• Staff and practitioner training educational videos on subjects that are related to specialty lenses are being produced, since, as Martin noted, “videos are more engaging that webinars.”

While ABB Optical continues to add material to its extensive library of educational materials for customers, Martin said ABB account managers and ECPs are happy to be able to meet in person again. “We are pleased about the return to live events since we’re all experiencing a certain level of webinar fatigue.”