Holiday Message from VT

Santa Learns About Restricted Airspace
Santa Learns About Restricted Airspace

At Least We All Love Santa


By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor


The editors and writing staff of VT, coming to you from 28 countries and every major religion and a few even I haven’t heard of, wish each and every one of you a joyous holiday season. 

This isn’t about the west being the predominant culture or issues of Christianity.

My own observance of Christmas, always the most important holiday of my year, was seldom based on ideas of the birth of Christ or the idea and the flurry of supernatural concepts that have led to two centuries of misunderstanding and acrimony.

That the theories, religious, political or mythological, how I tend to look on most things, meant to unite us have become growth industries in mayhem and hokum is something we can set aside, at least for a few days.

To many, perhaps even most of us, it is a time of the year when we consider, even for a moment, being the people we can and should be rather than those we have or fear to become or, worse still, know we are.

It is a period of introspection, of questioning, a time of personal responsibility.

What We Would All Pay For a Ride in This Rig !!

The many guises of Santa Claus, the mythic figure that has such a strong cultural influence on children in Christian societies is key.

To some, Santa, as we call him, is all loving, all giving and forgiving and to others, a source of judgement and retribution.

He could and perhaps should be a reminder that we all have one real purpose here, our stewardship of this planet for our children.

To the cynic, there is a dark Santa, a sign of disappointment, of cold rationality over the attractive and more desirable myth.  “How can a fat man fit through a million chimneys in a night?”

Our focus is on learning about ourselves and hating less, judging less, learning more of our fellow man, understanding and accepting more. 

It is also about accepting truth, sometimes laced with darkness and yet finding goodness where we can and being thankful for that.

Christmas to many of us is when we look to the writings of Dickens, the social reformer and novelist of the 19th century who reminded us that the welfare of humanity is the only purpose any of us have.

That message transcends any belief system, of course, being both universal and so much of the time universally forgotten.  Today is a day we remember, be it only one day a year.  If this is all we get, then we accept this gift gladly.

I would have Christmas be the universal holiday it has become to most in America.  It is celebrated with or without religious tradition as one chooses but the message seldom is denigrated.

From 1963 with Mel Torme and Judy Garland:

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Leverage lost art of customer service

Ophthalmology Times September 15, 2011 | Shepherd, Rene Soltis Stand out from the crowd In today’s ever-changing business landscape, customers are demanding, informed, and vocal. It’s a “buyer’s market” and patients have a plethora of choices when it comes to selecting both their eyecare provider and eyewear. Options range from personalized service to impersonal Internet alternatives and include everything between.

The key to success is to provide quality products for a good value and differentiate your service by combining high-touch with high-tech to achieve customized eye-care and eyewear solutions.

Patients today want Tiffany quality and Nordstrom service for a Walmart price. Before you dream up how to provide over-thetop service, you need to be sure everyone has a solid foundation of service basics.

Basic #1. Acknowledge the patient. How many times have you walked into a professional practice and weren’t acknowledged? How did you feel? Basic customer service requires an acknowledgement as soon as someone enters your establishmentwhether you will be ready to provide service in 1 minute or 20 minutes. go to site walmart price match

Basic #2. Be there – present and accounted for. Being present requires you to be in the moment ready to provide your undivided attention from start to finish. Customers should always feel valued, important, and at the center of attention. To accomplish this you must remain fully focused.

Basic #3. Apply the 1/3 to 2/3 rule. Listen twice as much as you talk. We have two ears and one mouth; apply them proportionately. Don’t just hear the sounds coming out of your patients’ mouths, listen to what they’re saying they want and need. Active listening is a critical component of any customer interaction. This requires you to hear, acknowledge, interpret, and then take action.

Setting the bar Look at each patient encounter and determine the basic service expectation. Work with your team to create a customer service checklist and define the service must-haves for patients’ journey through your practice. Once you determine that benchmark, create a strategy to assure it’s applied by every person, in every situation, every day.

After this goal is achieved, consider ways to ratchet up the service to the next level. What could you do to make the patient encounter more memorable? In this day and age of Internet shopping, keep in mind that a memorable personal interaction with you, the eye- care expert, could be the difference in the patient choosing his or her eye -care/eye wear provider.

Raising the bar Invest in your personal and professional development. Make it a point to become a lifelong learner. It’s important to keep up to date on the latest clinical and technical information related to the optical profession, but don’t limit your knowledge to those areas.

Only 25% of the population is a “natural” at providing customer service. The rest of us need to work regularly on honing and developing our service skills. Step outside of your comfort zone and read books, go online, or take classes related to communication, service, marketing, business strategies, and teambuilding.

Look outside the box We’ve all had service experiences that have “knocked our socks off.” What are others outside of the optical community doing to make their customers feel special and important? How do they customize and personalize their service? Try to create a log of these situations and talk with your co-workers to determine how you could either mirror these tactics or tweak them to work in your setting. go to site walmart price match

[Sidebar] Take-Home Message Every person in the dispensary practice needs to make the commitment to work as a team – to go from good to great and deliver extraordinary service to every patient, every day.

VEW courses hone in on customer service Here are a few recommended courses at the upcoming International Vision Expo West to strengthen your skills in customer service.

13-805-V:212 Degree Dispensing 23-805-V: How To Make Your Practice Stand Out 24-807-V: Maximizing Opportunities In Your Practice 32-507-V: Increase Profits from Services and Products Through Internal Marketing 43-507-V: Women Ask for DirectionsLearning to Use the Essential Chip Removal Tool Register at www.visionexpowestcom or call 800/81 1-71 51.

[Author Affiliation] author info Rene Soltis Shepherd, FNAO, is senior director of meetings and education for The Vision Council, Alexandria, VA. With more than 34 years of experience as a dispensing optician, she also serves as a liaison to the conference advisory board of International Vision Expo.

Shepherd, Rene Soltis


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Gordon Duff posted articles on VT from 2008 to 2022. He is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. A disabled veteran, he worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world's largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues. Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than "several" countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.