No matter the role you play on your dental team when you’re with a patient they trust you to take care of their dental needs without hesitation. That could be something as simple as helping them fill out a new patient form in the reception area to walking them through a detailed procedure that they need in order to save a damaged tooth.
And if you aren’t confident in your delivery you can leave a patient doubting your abilities—and wondering if your practice is the best fit for them.
To avoid potentially turning a patient away, make sure that you’re constantly aware of how you’re speaking to patients. This will keep you on the top of your game and ensure they feel comfortable in your presence.
Remember these three tips and you’ll be a pro at confidently educating patients and managing your relationships with them.
- Put Patients at Ease with Your Expertise
Whether your patient is a child at their first appointment or a world renowned physicist your status as the expert in the room never changes. You should be able to confidently and succinctly explain what’s happing during an appointment and answer any patient questions with ease. By doing this you communicate to your patients that you have everything handled and they can trust you to take care of their needs. And if there ever is a time you have a question or want the opinion of another team member make sure to step out of the room and discuss it privately—that way you can maintain a patient’s trust in your knowledge.
- Use Plain Language but Don’t Underestimate Intelligence
You need to walk a fine line between talking way over a patient’s head and talking down to them. There’s no need to refer to a tooth as a lateral incisor but you should trust that they’ll understand when you say they have a lesion on a lower front tooth. Be up front, honest and brief and your patients will thank you. After you finish explaining a proposed treatment or whatever a certain appointment requires ask if anything needs to be explained in simpler terms or if the patient has questions. This creates a dialog that is both respectful and helpful—just what the doctor—er, dentist—ordered.
- Sell Your Services Without Directly Selling
For the most part a dental appointment is all about education (where confidence and expertise are essential) and persuasion. Once you’ve gotten a patient comfortable with your dental knowledge and explained to them what you’ve learned about their oral health during the appointment the final step is typically selling them the treatment you’re recommending. However, unlike the traditional view of selling as pushy and invasive, when you try to persuade a patient to accept recommended treatment you must stay focused on the facts. Be direct—tell them how their current oral health state could negatively impact their lives (pain, sensitivity, worsening condition, etc.) and how coming in for treatment could benefit them. This will appeal to them both logically and emotionally without you coming across as overly aggressive—a surefire way to turn anyone away from treatment.
No two patient interactions are exactly alike but following the above steps for securing a patients trust and communicating with them confidently can go a long way towards creating a lasting relationship that’s both good for them and for your practice. When you think back to your own recent patient interactions do these tips sound familiar? Or are there ways you think you could improve upon the work you’re already doing?
In either case we hope these tips help your practice provide exceptional patient care.