Dentistry is a balance between running a business and providing health care. As in any business, some people will skirt the spirit of the law, cut corners, or even knowingly break the law.
All of us here will always do our best to uphold to the letter and spirit of the law. For you to help us, you’ll need to understand what the law is.
As you develop your dental career, you will be given more and more responsibilities. Your dentist will always strive to stay within the letter and intent of the laws governing dental practice in our state. Today, this is not easy! There are many contrasting opinions and some people are ignoring various portions of the law.
We will always strive to be honest and honorable. You can help by keeping current with all the laws yourself.
“Ethics” is more complicated than stopping when the traffic light turns red. Ethics involve all the gray areas in our moral behavior. Ethics determine the general climate here. Here are some examples of mistakes in living together in the practice that can eat away at the good will and trust we have developed among ourselves over the years.
1. Lying or “shading the truth” about some activity you are responsible for
2. Blaming others for your own mistakes
3. Telling confidential information about others to make you look better
4. Permitting or not reporting violations of legal or HealthPark requirements
5. Covering up for someone else’s mistakes
6. Ignoring complaints
7. Covering up accidents and not reporting safety hazards
8. Passing on another’s idea as your own
Read the following material and never ever do anything that is not allowed by the state.
Philosophy of Treating the Poor
1. The real needs are: insight into the role their dental health plays in their lifestyle; they can get healthy and stay that way.
2. Best to work with whole families – or at least the mother
3. Develop the persons sense of responsibility for their health
4. Don’t give advice unless its asked for
5. Don’t believe they want to be like those with more money. They may admire or envy them, but they probably don’t know how to achieve these gains.
6. Accept their beliefs as valid for them. Don’t try to change their opinions unless you are asked.
7. Go slow. Be respectful of their opinions and points of vie3w. Don’t try to solve their problems. This gives you your best chance of gaining their confidence. Then, and only then, do you have the chance to change their behavior.
8. When you ignore their values and substitute your own, they will resist you. When they fail – its your fault and they will slip back into their old, comfortable, destructive habits.
9. Allow them to develop the self-respect that comes with achieving a healthy mouth.
Helping the Disabled
In 1991 there were 43 million disabled people in the US. Physical disabilities include hearing, vision, speech and mobility. Here are some tips to be effective in working with the disabled:
1. Speak directly to the disabled person not to a companion.
2. Don’t worry about using terms like see you later to a vision impaired person. They use these terms also.
3. Don’t stand too close to a wheel chair bound client and hold a conversation, either move back or sit down.
4. When walking with a vision impaired person, offer your arm and walk slightly in front. Don’t take an arm and try to steer. When you approach an obstacle, describe it. When offering a chair place the persons hand on the back of the chair. Don’t pet a guide dog without permission.
5. If you enter a room, announce who you are to the vision impaired person and say “Should we shake hands?”
6. Never push a wheel chair person without first asking permission.
7. When speaking with a hearing impaired person, wave your hand or tap a shoulder to gain attention. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly and expressively.
8. Let the impaired person set the pace.
Avoid these Negatives
1. I don’t know
2. We cannot do that
3. You’ll have to
4. Hang on for a second, I’ll be right back
Client Fears and How to Overcome Them
A. Fear of the unknown
1. Tell clients what to expect before it happens
2. Answer all questions clearly and completely
B. Fear of being embarrassed – acknowledge the problem, focus on an improved future
C. Fear caused by stories told by others
1. Ask to hear, note, reassure
2. Dentist and staff listen
D. Fear of helplessness
1. Give control – hand signal to stop; choices
2. Appointments scheduled at client convenience
E. Fear of expense
1. Firm flexible financial arrangements
2. Easy to read statements
F. Fear of the office environment – N2O, headphones
G. Fear of poor quality care
1. Prompt phone answering
2. Convenient location, parking
3. Modern building, furnishings
4. Staff well groomed
5. Dentist and staff not rushed
6. Follow up calls after treatment
Talk with Positive Power
There’s a big difference between “I think maybe I can find a time for you next week,” and “I’ll find a time for you next week.” Here are some tips to give the impression that you are a take charge, in control person.
1. Avoid “I’ll try” this implies you may fail. Say “I will.”
2. Avoid “I’ll have to” Use “I’ll be glad to”
3. Avoid “problems” use “opportunities”
4. Avoid “I’m not good at” Try “I’m getting better at”
5. If you’re given a compliment, accept it, don’t downgrade, deny or apologize.
6. If someone succeeds, don’t call them lucky, compliment their skill and effort.
7. Avoid “I failed” Try “I learned”
8. Avoid “I can’t do anything about it.” Try “Its my responsibility to find a solution.”
9. Avoid “but” use “and”
10. Avoid “I disagree” try “That’s an interesting idea, I’d like to give a few more”
11. Avoid “We should” Try “We will”
12. Avoid “Do you have any questions?” Try “What questions do you have for me?”
13. Avoid “Well” and “To be perfectly honest”
14. Do use “Please” and “Thank you”
15. If you make a mistake – “I’m sorry, its my fault.” – no excuses
16. Recognize when someone does something well and compliment them
Now get in front of a mirror and look at yourself, then read and believe the following statements.
I believe I am a valuable and worthwhile person.
I recognize my strengths.
I accept my weaknesses.
I can find the humor in life.
I look for new experiences.
I enjoy meeting new people.
I don’t get bogged down by difficulties or setbacks.
I don’t worry about what I cannot control.
I am tolerant of people who are different from me.
I accept my own mistakes and try to learn from them.
If you “charge for water” expect to pay the price in the long run
Recently, while presenting a customer service training program, an attendee informed one of our trainers that she now refuses to eat at a very popular fast food chain. Her story is worth sharing.
She said she went into a restaurant and ordered a hamburger, small fries and an ice water. As the young man behind the counter grabbed the food she ordered, she was mentally tallying up the bill. When he told her the total was $5.50, she questioned the charges. He then told her the cup of water cost $1.50!
As a matter of principle, this guest refused to pay the $1.50 for the ice water. After a moot argument, she left the restaurant, never to return again. This chain of restaurants, scattered across the country, lost not only the immediate sale but all future sales to the customer and her family. They lost her over a cup of water that cost less than one penny.
But the story is not over yet. In a desperate search for an explanation, the customer wrote the company president to voice her frustration. An executive representative wrote her back explaining that each restaurant is owned and operated independently and it must be that restaurant’s policy to charge for the water. He tried to make amends by including a coupon for a free hamburger. The customer was so outraged by this blatant refusal to admit that any wrongdoing (service blunder) had occurred, she vowed to continue her boycott indefinitely, taking her business where the water is still free.
Policy and Procedural Ignorance
Do you wonder how many “experts” helped decide to charge for water? How was this high-powered decision made – was it due to a sudden increase in the water bill? Or was this the simple result of a SWAT recommendation (Sell Water Action Team)?
Please forgive the cynicism. It’s simply amazing to discover the great lengths and creative ways organizations can find to lose loyal customers. Policies and procedures are many times implemented in order to save, or make a fast buck, and are not analyzed in terms of their impact on customers.
Case in Point
At the $1.9 billion plus retailer, Nordstrom, a one-sentence policy manual exists: “Use your own best judgment at all times.” Nordstrom supervisors are always coaching employees on exactly what is “using your best judgment.” However, the absence of abundant rules and regulations allows employees to focus exactly where they should – the customer, rather than the toilet breaks, overtime, parking slots and appropriate work attire.
Does you organization have similar “water policies” chasing away loyal customers? Do any policies exist which place your organization in an unflattering light? In many cases, it is an organization’s return, warranty, exchange or refund policy that makes it easy for customers to become dissatisfied and jump to the more flexible competition. Don’t let the “Lifetime value” of your customers be jeopardized by archaic guidelines.
The Basic Message to Ritz Carlton Employees
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has taken what it considers to be the key product and service requirements of the person who travels and translated them into its Gold Standards. The standards include a credo, motto, three steps of service, and 20 Ritx Carlton basics. The basics are an integral part of the company’s daily quality improvement communication to employees. All of these key messages are copyrighted by Ritz-Carlton.
1. The credo will be known, owned and energized by all employees, (The credo: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission. We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests, who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed yet refined ambiance. The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.)
2. Our motto is: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Practice teamwork and “lateral service” to create a positive work environment.
3. The three steps of service shall be practiced by all employees. (The three steps: A warm and sincere greeting using the guests name if and when possible; anticipation and compliance with guests’ needs; and a fond farewell, using the guest’s name if and when possible.)
4. All employees will successfully complete training certification to ensure they understand how to perform to the Ritz-Carlson standards in their position.
5. Each employee will understand their work area and hotel goals as established in each strategic plan.
6. All employees will know the needs of their internal and external customers (guests and employees) so that we may deliver products and services they expect. Use guest preference pads to record specific needs.
7. Each employee will continuously identify defects throughout the hotel.
8. Any employee who receives a customer complaint “owns” the complaint.
9. Instant guest pacification will be ensured by all. React quickly to correct the problem immediately. Follow up with a telephone call within 20 minutes to verify the problem has been resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. Do everything you can to never lose a guest.
10. Guest incident action forms are used to record and communicate every incident of guest dissatisfaction. Every employee is empowered to resolve the problem and prevent a repeat occurrence.
11. Uncompromising levels of cleanliness are the responsibility of every employee.
12. “Smile – We are on stage.” Always maintain positive eye contact. Use the proper vocabulary with our guests. (Use words like “Good morning, Certainly, I’ll be happy to, and My pleasure”)
13. Be an ambassador of your hotel in and outside of the workplace. Always talk positively. No negative moments.
14. Escort guests rather than pointing out directions to another area of the hotel.
15. Be knowledgeable of hotel information (hours of operation, etc.) to answer guest inquiries. Always recommend the hotel’s retail and food and beverage outlets prior to outside facilities.
16. Use proper telephone etiquette. Answer within 3 rings and with a smile. When necessary, ask the caller “May I place you on hold” Do not screen calls. Eliminate call transfers when possible.
17. Uniforms are to be immaculate; wear proper and safe footwear (clean and polished), and your correct nametag. Take pride and care in your personal appearance (adhering to all grooming standards).
18. Ensure all employees know their roles during emergency situations and are aware of fire and life safety response processes.
19. Notify your supervisor immediately of hazards, injuries, equipment or assistance that you need. Practice energy conservation and proper maintenance and repair of hotel property and equipment.
20. Protecting the assets of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel is the responsibility of every employee.
The credo, motto, three steps of service, and 20 basics are all printed on a tri-fold card that Ritz-Carlton employees can carry with them. Sue M. Davis, corporate quality office manager, said Ritz-Carlton guests often ask employees about these items. Employees can consult the card, but many have the items memorized.
To get signed off on this section, you must read through the state board laws:
The Ohio State Dental Board website
The Tennessee State Dental Board
Doctor signature date