Article Date: 3/1/2006

Go Ahead and Take Your Shot
Our critics can provide us with the boost we need simply by writing a letter.

Like any enterprise, OM has its share of critics. When an unhappy reader announces himself, usually through a letter or email, we follow the same initial steps that any concerned optometric practice would follow. First, we tell our customer that we're sorry he's unhappy. (Many check to see if their organization can be held culpable before issuing an apology, but that can be a mistake: If you start by informing the customer that your organization has followed its rules, you've made this encounter about you and not the customer.) We work toward a resolution that satisfies both parties, and then we thank the customer and do the appropriate follow up.

This system is not fool proof. But in most instances, when it is done with honesty, integrity and sincerity, these steps transform a complainant into a satisfied customer.

It's not over yet

OM and other publishers take an additional step. We consider publishing a "Letter to the Editor." This may confound our audience and even the person who wrote the letter. After all, why publicize a criticism?

For OM, there are two answers. First, as a matter of record, it's our duty to clarify the information we publish. Second, in a dynamic field such as optometry, we recognize that differing opinions may exist on any subject. It's not always a question of right or wrong, it's a question of what works for the individual. For example, a practice management technique that works best for a practice in Seattle may not fit the practice in Manhattan or Austin, Texas.

A new foundation

We also recognize that publications can only provide a snapshot of any subject at any one particular time. New information is constantly generated. From this perspective, publications are not always the "final word," but rather a foundation on which to build a dialogue, one that depends on your participation.

So whether you agree or disagree with what you find in the pages of OM, let us know. Give us your best shot. You just might provide a boost for the entire profession.

A difficult farewell

Recently, Optometric Management lost a leader and a close friend when Bob Boucher passed away. Bob was president of Boucher Communications, the publisher of OM, from 1997 to 2005. Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to Bob's family at this difficult time.

Optometric Management, Issue: March 2006