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How Can These Rival Businesses Resolve Their Online Catfight?

This very public social media showdown is tarnishing their images and dragging in customers.




BEN!” JENNIFER EXCLAIMED as she bolted into the office first thing in the morning.

Ben looked up at Jennifer as though he had been shocked. “Yeah…?” he said with hesitation.


Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved and should not be confused with real people or places. Responses are peer-sourced opinions and are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Please contact your attorney if you have any questions about an employee or customer situation in your own business.


Carissa Dunphy has been working in private practice optometry since 2008 and is the founder of Optician Now ( Follow Carissa on Instagram and Facebook at @opticiannow.

“Have you been following the trainwreck Facebook thread about the local ODs?” she blurted.

“Actually,” Ben responded, “I have! It’s in the Community Group… so everyone in the whole town probably saw it too.”

“How on Earth did it get to the point that the customers are defensive about optometry offices?!” Jennifer replied. “It was like a rap-battle, OD-version.”

Ben’s eyes were still peeled. “You’re newer to this area — this goes back quite a while.” He continued, “Our office was the first in town, and we were on our own for a while. Then Modern Family Vision and The Glasses Mart opened up around the same time. All of this banter started from day one.”


“I’m pretty sure I can guess how things went based on the thread,” Jennifer responded.

“You’d probably be surprised that it started with the employees of those two shops,” Ben said.

Jennifer’s eyes widened. “I wondered how the customers knew so many details about the optometry industry.”

“Someone asked a question online about glasses. The employees of Modern Family Vision replied saying that their glasses brands were independent and not industry monopolies.” Ben continued, “Then The Glasses Mart responded saying they provide popular brands and don’t price gouge.”

“I saw someone else chime in about how The Glasses Mart doesn’t employ real professionals, to which someone replied to say that the hours for Modern Family Vision are so random, they can never get in,” Jennifer added.

“The employees don’t even need to post online anymore because the community members do it for them. It goes back and forth, over and over, and it’s rarely positive. That’s basically the history in a nutshell,” Ben concluded.

“And what are we?” Jennifer responded—“Caught in the middle?”

“We have narrowly avoided the biases—I think partly because no employee from this office has ever fueled the fire, and partly because our glasses and OD services are a combination of the two of theirs,” Ben suggested.

“I just don’t understand why the ECPs started it in the first place,” Jennifer said. “We all have ODs and glasses and help people see better.”

“That sums it up pretty well,” Ben replied. “It’s unfortunate that what was said years ago continues to snowball and keep the optometry biases fresh in the customers’ minds.”


The Big Questions

  • How might these two offices repair their image within the community?
  • Does your office have a staff social media policy in regard to how they conduct themselves on behalf of the business?
  • How would you suggest an ECP address the corporate versus private practice differences when facing a direct question from a patient/customer?


Vlad C.
Hackensack, NJ

In my opinion, implementing a staff social media policy is a crucial step in establishing an optometric practice’s online presence. This becomes particularly important when staff members actively engage with the local community on social media platforms. In my view, a robust social media policy should prioritize patient confidentiality above all else. It should also emphasize that online language must consistently reflect the same respect, professionalism, and positivity maintained within the office environment.

When addressing individuals who express concerns or share negative experiences about your practice, it is beneficial to respond promptly and empathetically. Take the time to understand their perspective before responding, avoiding impulsive or defensive reactions. In cases where the practice has made a mistake, openly acknowledge it, offer a sincere apology, and outline specific measures your staff will take to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future. Remember that your response is not just directed at the individual but also impacts the impression formed by prospective patients who will likely read the thread later on.

Daniel H.
Ontario, CA

The two offices can arrange a field day in which they can participate in an outdoor field competition between the two teams. It could be a fun office-building event, with pictures to share on Facebook for the community to see their laughter. The best challenges would be eyewear-related, like opticianry pop quizzes for points. The winner of the competition could get a year’s supply of cleaning cloths and spray.

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