Ask INVISION: November 2015

How can I help people learn how to clean their glasses?

Here’s a good mash-up script from the smart people on Opticians on Facebook. Memorize it like the Gettysburg Address. “The best way to prevent scratches and protect your investment is to always wet the lenses first and dry them with a soft, clean cloth. Never wipe them with paper towels, tissues, napkins or toilet paper.” Then, add with increasing passion, “And for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, please don’t wipe them with your shirt.”

This article originally appeared in the November-December 2015 edition of INVISION.

I’ve got a optical stylist with really bad breath. I mean, I’m talking Crypt Keeper breath here. How do I break the news to her, and how can we fix it?

Oooh, we don’t envy you in this situation. But the only way to face this situation is head-on (and without the use of a gas mask). There could be a number of reasons for the problem: poor hygiene, halitosis, even some high-protein diets. Author and human-resources expert Paul Falcone suggests calling the person into your office for a heart-to-heart. Say something like this: “Roger, I wanted to meet with you one-on-one because I need to share something with you privately. You may not realize it, but it appears you have a problem with bad breath, and it’s become a workplace issue. I’ve had conversations like this with other employees before, and usually they’re not even aware that the problem exists. I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable, but are you aware of the issue, and if so, is it something you could take care of?” The key is to remember to make sure that the employee knows that the responsibility to fix the problem lies with them.

Some new contact lens users freak out the first time I try to get them to insert a lens into their eye. Any advice?

Remember three words — “feel,” “felt” and “found.” In his book 201 Secrets of a High-Performance Optometric Practice, Bob Levoy suggests saying: “Mr./Mrs. Smith, I know how you feel. Many patients have felt exactly the same way. But, after a little practice, they found that the process was far simpler and easier to do than they initially thought. You will, too.” While the formula might not actually help the patient get the lens into their eye, it does acknowledge contact newbies’ fear and makes them less self-conscious about the process.

I’m concerned that somebody might get drunk at our holiday party and have a car accident and I might get sued. Got any advice on protecting myself?

These days, the Grinch must be a lawyer. Concerns about liability for alcohol-related incidents, sexual harassment and workers’ compensation claims have led many companies to forgo holiday galas entirely. You don’t have to. But if you’re really afraid, lawyer Anil Khosla, writing in Inc. Magazine, suggests the following steps to reduce your liability:

1. To distance the business from the party, make it an entirely voluntary social event. Don’t invite clients or vendors.

2. Hold your event off-site, if possible, which may shift potential liability to the hotel, restaurant or caterer. If you have an on-site party, hire an independent caterer. Don’t permit anyone from the company to serve alcohol, and be sure bartenders stop serving anyone who seems inebriated. Lawyers advise avoiding an open bar, or limiting it to the first hour. Close the bar entirely at least an hour before the party ends.

3. Consider providing transportation to and from the event. Make sure that cabs will be available, and appoint someone to suggest taxi rides home for people who’ve had too much to drink.

How does one politely, errr, fire the hell out of a customer?

First of all, however satisfying this may seem at the moment, don’t do this unless you must. But if the time has truly come, have a favorite, polite-but-firm phrase like: “We want our patients happy. We can’t seem to help you anymore. I’m sorry.” Or try a technique from Denise Moore of Walmart Vision Center in Medina, OH, who says: “I take on the persona of Gene Wilder from the original Willy Wonka as I stand and say “Good day, Madam! I said, ‘good day!’”