When you are running a dental practice, it is inevitable that you will experience issues with patients at some point and time. Now, for the good news: many of these issues can be chalked up to a lack of communication and can be corrected with relative ease. How should you resolve these communication problems with your patients? Well, it’s as simple as picking up the phone.
Many dental office employees are reluctant to use the phone to contact patients. This is a mistake!
Advances in technology have opened up so many ways to contact others: sending a text, writing an email, or messaging someone via one of the social media networks. However, using the telephone is far from dead as a means of communication.
Think about how you hear from your patients, in typical situations. When they need dental care, how do they contact your office? They usually don’t do it by sending a letter in the mail, an email, a text, or a message on Facebook. Instead, they do it by calling your practice to make an appointment.
If you have patients who received incomplete treatment and do not have a follow-up appointment, you definitely should call to schedule them for a return visit for their follow-up care.
Sending a letter through the mail to inactive patients is not enough
Dental practices face a greater responsibility than many other types of business owners. You and your staff should be doing whatever it takes to make sure the patients under your care receive the treatments they need. Remember that neglect can be one of the greatest devastations for one’s dental health — and that any problem with oral health, if ignored, is just going to get worse as time passes.
Put protocols in place so that each patient leaves the office with their next appointment already scheduled. We realize that, from time to time, certain patients might slip through the cracks. When this happens, be sure to follow up by making a phone call—rather than any other single method of communication. A similar philosophy applies when discussing patients who are overdue for a dental cleaning.
Why is using the phone the best way to communicate with patients?
First and foremost, a phone call provides a deeper level of interaction with patients because you can respond to questions and address concerns in real time. Moreover, talking to someone on the phone creates a greater sense of urgency, as well as the ability for a member of your staff to express the necessary level of concern about the patient’s oral health.
Many employees are scared to use the phone to communicate with clients
Maybe they are concerned about flubbing their words, saying the wrong thing, or offending a patient by accident. Whatever the reason, this fear is unfounded. Good phone skills can be learned—as can the skill of speaking with more confidence. Remember, a dental practice is only as good as the people on the staff. Part of that means having, or developing, office staff with great ability to communicate whether it is face to face or over the phone. Likewise, even the most skilled dentist will not survive as a practice owner if patients are leaving or deactivating because of poor communication protocols in your office.
Not sure where to start when it comes to establishing communication protocols and phone etiquette for your team? Bryant Consultants offers services that can help you realize your vision, establish goals, and set processes in place to evolve your practice. Contact us by calling (877) 768-4799.
We provide consultation, training, and coaching to help improve the operations of your practice so that you can provide exceptional results to your patients. No office is out of reach for us; we will even come to you!