It is important to understand that under the recently enacted Fairness to Contact Lens Consumer Law (FCLCA) EFFECTIVE February 4, 2004, much of 1-800 CONTACTS communications to eye care providers regarding prescription verification are regulated in detail.
1-800 CONTACTS is committed to providing extraordinary customer service. As such, we have contracted and worked with industry leaders and expended substantial resources in order to implement a verification system that is in compliance with the FCLCA and Rules. 1-800 CONTACTS has used these leading technologies and resources to develop a system that is intelligible, easy to use, efficient, and timely for all parties involved in the verification process, from consumers, to sellers, and eye care providers (“ECP”).
Two key points within the verification process are 1) the outbound phone verification communication process that uses one of the latest text-to-speech technologies on the market today, developed by Nuance Communications Inc., an industry leader in voice and text-to-speech technologies 2) the inbound fax verification response process that is specifically “designed to manage high-volume, time-sensitive document delivery…(and)…never worry about your customers and correspondents receiving a busy signal when trying to send a fax,” developed by an industry leader, Verizon Business. 1-800 CONTACTS has taken substantial effort to ensure that the phone verification system is doctor and doctor staff friendly as well as providing all of the required contact lens verification information to the ECP’s office, so that the doctor or office personnel can verify (at their convenience or within the federal 8 business hour verification period defined by the FCLCA) the contact lens prescription. 1-800 CONTACTS has also taken substantial effort to ensure that the fax verification system is one of the best systems on the market today and specifically chose this fax system because of the systems’ no busy signal guarantees.
Due to the strict rules of the FCLCA, 1-800 CONTACTS has determined that the phone verification system is the best way we can be sure we have complied with the federal law. This phone system assures us that the proper information is transmitted in an intelligible fashion. 1-800 CONTACTS reviewed several options in terms of our ability to comply with the law before we chose the present system. The company then further improved the system in order to make the text-to-speech pronunciation as easy to understand as possible. We have added the customization features described below in order to make it easy for each office to use. By using the phone system, we believe that our customers receive quicker/better service and response time. Instead of a fax sitting on the machine all day, the phone system ensures that the verification request is brought to the attention of the office personnel in the shortest possible time. It is our belief that this will expedite the eye care providers response and thus satisfy consumers’ needs. Finally, in discussions with several doctor’s offices we became aware that if an eye care provider were to need information about one of their patients that is transferring to another office – they would not fax the request. Instead, they would call the office to make sure it was brought to offices’ attention. We are attempting the same and understand that this is customary in the industry.
Many offices have asked that we use live person, rather than an automated system. In order to ensure an absolutely consistent approach that conveys all of the required information, we use a system that works exactly the same – every time. This completely rids the verification process of system error, emotion, or other problems that sometimes occur. Due to the severe penalties the company could face if we do not comply with all of the rules surrounding the verification attempt, we must be absolutely positive that there is someone in the office or able to take the verification message and that that person receives all of the requisite information. Further, the system call communicates the information required, by law, in approximately two (2) minutes. If however, the ECP office feels that two minutes is too burdensome, our system gives the office customized options to have the system call back in 5 minutes, to pause, resume, repeat, or skip the introduction (the introduction is approx. 30 seconds or approx. 25% of the call length). This system allows the office to customize the verification session to fit the office needs while still providing the most expedited service to our customer and the eye care provider’s patient. We believe that the system – when properly understood and used – is the easiest and most efficient way to complete the federally mandated verification with nearly 50,000 offices across the nation.
We feel that this verification process does not place significant burden on any office staff, as we are acting in behalf of the patient to verify their contact lens prescription information in accordance with the FCLCA. The initial verification phone call does not require the end user to verify the prescription right then. It simply conveys the required contact lens verification information so that the office, at their convenience, can verify the contact lens prescription. The FCLCA has determined that a seller of contact lenses who must verify a prescription must wait 8 business hours once the required information has been successfully communicated to the eye care provider office. If the seller does not receive verification response within that given time frame the seller is allowed to ship the contact lens order.
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