Transparency in Business
Here we go again. Tackling businesses that may or may not tell you the whole truth in regards to practices. We have all heard the old stories about “Used car salesmen”, but what or who is the newest version of tricky sales? Those who try to sell you on one product without telling you they are being paid to do so? Perhaps. Read on as we have a few scenarios for you to understand. We just want to help you without pushing our agenda and worry about those who get pushed a product that isn’t the best or what they are looking for. It happens to all of us though. These are the tricks you want to be aware of below in our blog.
These tricky entrepreneurs are out there.
The problem is, they are not so easy to spot. If you walk into a Yankee Candle Store and see nothing but Yankee Candles, are you surprised? No. Because that store is labeled as the brand you see. If you walk into an independent computer store and see nothing but HP computers, are you surprised? Yes, especially if there is nothing in the name of the store (ie: Joe’s Computer World) or any advertising on the outside of the store or its website, to lead you to believe you can only buy HP computers. Perhaps the store, in this case, ought to be called “HP Computer”.
Now those are obvious examples. The first help for transparency is in the name of the store. The second point, most people know enough about computers to know that there should be a variety of makes and models. What happens when you walk into a store and you don’t know a lot about what you are buying? You may be a first-time purchaser. What do you do? Research before going to any store may be a good place to start.
We are also the store of transparency so we will share with you what we know about hearing health care.
Sharing with you all what you need to know about hearing aids, and yes, there are choices and not one product is better than another for everyone. Now, at one point or another, everyone was a first-time user of hearing aids. Even a modicum of research will tell you that there are several hearing aid manufacturers. What happens when you walk into a store and see only one brand on display? Do you ask why? I hope so. If they tell you the store is owned by a particular brand, you have a decision to make. Continue on with the store/clinic you walked in and try the product they have or go to a store that offers more options. What is most important is that everything is clear and transparent to you, the consumer.
Another scenario that seems to be transparent: You walk into a store and see several brands on display or marketed on the website.
When approached by a store employee, they take you over to one particular brand; the employee has asked you no questions. He or she has steered you to one brand. Why? Do you ask why? I hope you ask. If the employee tells you they are owned by that brand or are in some way being compensated for selling that brand, then you have a decision to make. Do you continue or go somewhere else? Perhaps to a more independent location. Again, this is a transparent situation as you understand why you were given that brand. When shopping for better hearing, and your health care provider only offers you one brand like Phonak or Oticon, then again you need to ask why. Feel free to ask for references on what others think and see if that clinic dispenses other brands or just that one brand. We know that the manufacturers want more market share and are buying clinics although they tote that the clinician can still dispense other brands, it is usually not a significant amount and usually kept under 10% other brand. Think about it, why would apple store want to sell Samsung?
The least transparent is not really transparent at all.
In our hearing aid field, sometimes a hearing aid clinic has a loan from a manufacturer or some other business dealings, and they do not share it. We have heard from our patients that in other locations they were told things like: “these are the best aids for you”, or “this is the best hearing aid on the market”, or even “This hearing aid can help you hear better than any other aid on the market”. Imagine that an internal medicine doctor owns a private clinic and got a loan to run the business from a pharmaceutical company. Would you see that doctor? Perhaps or perhaps not. What would you think if that physician prescribed a medication made by that pharmaceutical company? Ask if that is really the best medication for you? Ask for a second opinion? Run away?
That is why a certain amount of trust in a brand or a certain amount of trust in a provider is so critical.
The world continues to get more confusing as more monopolies are forming and harder for small business people to stay in business. We get it. Transparency shows trust and ethics. All businesses, especially clinicians in health care ought to share these types of conflicts with the client/patient/consumer as professionals took an oath to be ethical and help the patient. Even salespeople are held to an ethical standard.
The importance of word-of-mouth referrals from a trusted friend or family member cannot be overstated.
The importance of being educated on what it is you need also cannot be overstated. That is why we at Hears to U, Audiology, and at Hears Hearing & Hearables encourage you to educate yourself.
We offer a lot of information because we are passionate not only about helping you hear better but also about transparency and ethics. Feel free to check our website, read reviews, and do your own research. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our business model or standards of practice.
Karen (edited by Kim)