The Decline of Polite Behavior

I have been dispensing hearing aids since 1991, longer than some, but just a kid to others in the business.

Lately it seems that common politeness has taken a back seat to expressing oneself with no filter; if you are demanding, you may believe you’ll get what you want more quickly.

This attitude does not work that way with me. I respond (as I am sure most of us do) better to those who are polite than to those who are rude to me. I have no qualms about letting patients go from my practice if they abuse my staff in anyway. Up until this past year that had happened only three times since I went out on my own in 1996. However, during the past year alone we have almost doubled that number. I have looked at my staff, and see that they are nice, respectful and do everything they can to solve problems. Yet some patients will be rude to a staff member, and then do a complete 180 in my presence; some of my physician friends state they also experience this in their practices.

I decided for my hearing aid patients we will have another agreement:

Polite Behavior Contract
Thank you for choosing Oro Valley Audiology for your hearing care needs. We love our work and, as employees, we have accepted our mission to provide the best service and expertise possible, and to treat everyone with kindness and respect. We truly want you and your family members to benefit from every contact with our office.

We realize that managing hearing loss and maintaining hearing instruments can be challenging, sometimes even when correct procedures have been followed. However, we work better and are able to resolve issues more efficiently when challenges are communicated to us in a respectful manner. We promise that we will figure out how to lower the impact and inconvenience to you.

In return, we expect the same kindness and respect from those we serve, and we reserve the right to refuse service to those who do not follow guidelines or abuse office staff in any manner. This includes the patient, family members or caretakers.

We know you have choices.
Thank you for choosing Oro Valley Audiology for your hearing needs!
Thank you,

Patient Name _____________________________ Date Signed __________________
Family/Caregiver Name _____________________ Date Signed __________________

Will this work? I’m not sure, but I would not be truthful if I didn’t say it disappoints me a bit that we even have to go down this road.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced this in your profession?

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3 Comments

  1. I say just post it at the front desk or on display placards in the fit rooms.

    People, yes nowadays even older folks, seem to demand more and more, yet expect to pay less and less. People have to realize you get what you pay for. Those who threaten litigation at the smallest inconvenience also need to kindly be shown the door immediately if/when possible.

  2. Judy,

    It is so true!

    For example just the other day I had someone like this. I pride myself on being punctual, and am thanked by patients almost every day for not making them wait. Well, the other day I had a woman who I had worked very hard to please, multiple remakes, follow up appointments, etc, all during her risk-free trial. At this last appointment she proceeded to chew me out for making her wait 4 minutes in the lobby! I had to promptly fire her as a customer.

    Some folks just don’t want to be happy.

  3. Yes I have many experiences like this over the years. Abusive to the receptionist but sweet to me. Also had a fair number come in and rant at the office staff about receiving a flyer in the mail! I just ask them why don’t you just throw it away?? Secretly I wanted to ask them what time they ate their dinner and tell them we will telemarket them at that time! O well such is life…

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