• Tonya Burns

How We Say Things is Important!

What is the most important thing in a dental office? If you said, the patient, you are right!

How the patient feels when they are in the office or call the office is so important! How we say things and communicate with them is so important! We need to listen to the patient and help set expectations that will reduce the amount of questions and unhappy patients. The biggest reason that a patient may be unhappy is when they feel that they were told one thing and then a different thing later. The best thing to do with a dental team is to ensure everyone is using the same wording and phrases to promote consistency along with helping to teach our patients. Did you know that experts say you need to hear something three times before you recognize the information? You need to hear something seven to eight times before you will believe it? This is often used in marketing and called the rule of Seven. Our goal for your dental office is to have the patient hear the information that is important 3-7 times. Examples of where this information can be include:

-From the Referral -On the phone -In the reminder -From the front Desk at check in -From the assistant -From the Dr. -From the PFC -From billing. What types of information should we be repeating? -Pre op instructions -Post op instructions -Financial policy -Insurance policy -Expectations for arrival -Expectations for keeping appt Always try your best to avoid open ended questions that give the patient control of the conversation. Instead, guide questions with choices if possible. For instance instead of using "when are you available?" when scheduling, use "we have openings available on Tuesday at 9 or Wednesday at 3". The most important part of the patient experience is that the patient feels valued. If they have concerns that you are unable to address please notify the Dr. you are working with. Don't give vague or non reassuring answers.

Lastly, we cannot stress how important introductions are at the office to as well as using the patient name to make them feel more comfortable and appreciated. Get rid of the sign in sheet. Address the patient when they approach. Introduce the patient to the assistant and then to the doctor. Examples for introduction at the front desk: "Welcome to Your Town Oral surgery my name is Heather. Shake the patient's hand and ask the patient’s name." Examples for assistants: "Hi Mary I am Heather I will be assisting Dr. B today with your care.

Examples for assistants to introduce the doctor.

Mary this is Dr. B, Dr. B, this is Mary and this is her first time in our office." Examples of how to assist transfer to PFC "Mary this is Amy she is going to go over the financial of your investment with you. Amy, Mary was seen today for a consult and pano and will be coming back on {date} for removal of tooth # 3 with BG. Dr. Bt said no charge for the pano today or the BG at next appt. This is important for so many reasons! It helps the patients feel comfortable and shows teamwork within the office. It also helps keep the patient informed.

Written by Heather Waldron, Consultant and Coach

Complete Dental Practice Consulting

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