Ask INVISION: June 2015

We just got a one-star review on Yelp. How can I be sure this never happens again?

Brand storytelling expert Bernadette Jiwa has 10 tips to to avoid bad reviews: 1. Care twice as much about how your customers feel as you do about what they say. 2. Make promises you will keep. 3. Think beyond the sale you’ll make today. 4. Allow your customers to create the hype you have lived up to. 5. Make sure reality exceeds expectations. 6. Check that your definition of “amazing” matches the customer’s definition. 7. Treat your customers like your grandfather would have treated his. 8. Remember your reputation is more than what people say; it’s what your actions lead them to believe. 9. Never deliver the kind of experience that enables a customer to write a one-star review. 10. Write the five-star review you’re hoping for. Make this your manifesto and share it with your team.

What do you think of using legal templates? Do we really need a personal relationship with a lawyer?

There’s an old saying that if you don’t have enough money to pay a lawyer, you don’t have enough money to be in business. All businesses are unique, and legal matters are too important to be left to the generalities of a template you pull off the Web. Now, for the simple, small, mom-and-pop operation that’s just starting out, you may be OK with a do-it-yourself approach at first. But if you expect to grow in the future, or to take on staff, an off-the-shelf approach will only lead to problems down the road. This is especially true if there are partners or shareholder agreements. As business attorneys are fond of saying, “You can pay your attorney now or pay him a lot more later.” Find a good lawyer and start building a relationship.

Are traffic counters useful? How would I use one in my store?

Traditionally, retailers use total sales and average sale as barometers of the store’s performance. You know how it works: On a good day, the staff did a great job. On a bad day, the blame goes to not enough traffic. That shouldn’t be the case, says Keith Bagley, marketing director for St. Michael Strategies. Without ongoing traffic counts and an ability to relate these to sales, staffing, promotional and inventory data, you are forced to guess, estimate or ignore important information. Traffic counters are a great way to determine the success of your advertising promotions. Think about it: If you run an advertising campaign and sales increase, the campaign is blindly deemed a success. And if sales don’t increase, it’s blindly deemed a failure. Having a traffic counter allows you to more objectively gauge results. Perhaps more people did come into your business during a promotion, but you weren’t able to convert the increased traffic into sales. This indicates that the problem lies elsewhere — maybe in lack of staff training, the type of inventory you’re carrying, etc. What should you expect to pay for a traffic counting system? In a typical boutique type store, a complete traffic counting system can cost as little as $2 a day (based on a three-year lease or amortization). Some systems can even integrate with your existing store video system.

I’m in my 30s. Is it just me, or is my own eyesight worse at dusk? I wonder whether I ought to talk with my patients about this, too.

Nope, it’s not just you. A study published in the May issue of Optometry and Vision Science told how Dr. Jason S. Ng and colleagues from the Southern California College of Optometry used light filters to test visual acuity at various light levels. They found that even in their group of young, healthy volunteers (average age 25), vision decreased about 1.5 lines worse than normal at twilight. Read more at

Sometimes in staff meetings people keep piping up with ideas that move the discussion in the wrong direction. How can I politely keep things moving?

To get back on track, greet the next idea by saying: “Great idea! Write it down.” It shows respect for the employee’s contribution, but allows you to move on quickly to more productive ideas. (Build a repertoire of such sayings. Here’s another example: “Definitely something to consider. Note that!”)

I sometimes talk too much to patients, especially when I’m presenting product features. How can I keep this in check?

Talking too much is definitely an absolutely lethal sales-killer. Bob Levoy, author of 201 Secrets of a High-Performance Optometric Practice, has a good way to neutralize this habit for good. Levoy suggests that if you feel that you might be starting to over-explain after “a minute of two of nonstop talking about the etiology of dry eye, the benefits of multifocal contacts lenses, or whatever ... STOP TALKING and ask the patient, ‘Is this interesting?’” If the patient answers “Yes,” you have permission to keep going. Best result of all? If the patient says, “Yes, and you’re the first doctor who ever explained this to me.” In that case, Levoy says, “Give yourself a pat on the back and keep on talking — you’ve hit a home run.”

What does the law say about conducting a body search on a staff member I suspect of theft?

It says keep your hands to yourself. The laws regarding searches (body and workplace) stem from the way the Constitution guarantees a basic right to privacy — and your worker has a very strong privacy interest in his or her own body, even when fully clothed. If you have a legitimate concern that a staff member has stolen anything, call the police in to take it to the next level. For more information, try The Essential Guide To Workplace Investigations by attorney Lisa Guerin.

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of INVISION.