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Tip Sheet

Making the Most of Negative Online Reviews and More Tips for April

Don’t ignore those one-star reviews. Instead, discuss them as a team.

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MINDFULNESS

Add Some Headroom

A favorite app of the SmartWork Media editors is Headspace, which will guide you through a very modern approach to meditation. One of the points founder Andy Puddicombe makes repeatedly is for listeners to give regular thought to why and for whom they want to improve their mindfulness, or their ability to live in the present. He suggests sticking a blank Post-it note to their mirror or computer. No need for inspiring quotes. Just a yellow note to trigger the thoughts: Am I focused on the present or distracted? For whom am I doing the things I do each hour?

management

Embrace the Pain

Bad online reviews hurt, and most business owners would prefer they just disappear. But if you’re willing to learn from them, they can also be a valuable source of feedback. That’s the approach at Bakersfield Eye Care Optometric Center in Bakersfield, CA. “We’ve had our share of 1 star reviews that hurt. Instead of brushing it off, we discuss them as a team and decide how we’re going to learn and grow from the ‘terrible thing’ someone said,” says co-owner Dr. Son Nguyen. That helps explain why the practice is the highest rated in its area on social media.

service

Get Some Satisfaction

If a customer is unhappy, you’ll hear about it. But satisfied customers are a different. To ensure you don’t miss this important feedback, author Andy Sernovitz suggests this: Hold an Employee of the Month contest and ask customers to vote. Second, ensure your site’s feedback form is in a prominent location. And invite comments in post-purchase surveys. “You’re not going to get praise from a multiple-choice question,” he says.

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management

Ask the Right People

Often the best place to improve efficiency is by consulting the staff; they know where time and resources are being wasted. Yet, says an advice column for ECPs on the American Express’s Open Forum, they’re often never asked and may not feel it’s their place to speak up.

operations

Start with Inventory

At the heart of any practice is its visioncare… but it’s usually the optical that pays the bills. That’s a lesson Larah Alami, OD, owner of Hudson River Eye Care in Tarrytown and White Plains, NY, admits she was slow to learn. “We implemented a serious inventory and pricing strategy which proved wildly successful in just two weeks. We should have started with an inventory plan from the start and no doubt we would have made more money, had greater efficiency, and made our patients and staff happier.”

SERVICE

End on a Positive

Never say “Come back with any problems,” advises Mickey Bradley, owner of Patrick Optical in Fort Worth, TX. It’s better, he says, to end with a positive, like “Let us know how many compliments you receive on your new look.”

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service

Install an Emergency Button

This is a feature that should be mandatory on all ECPs’ websites: An emergency eyecare link. On the home page of Invision Optometry’s website such a button is one of the first things a visitor will notice. A large red button with the universal symbol for first aid that can connect distressed patients to the practice with one click on their mobile phone, it links to a hotline at the San Diego, CA practice.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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