When the health and well-being of a patient are at stake, a dentist must use the proper words to convince him or her that treatment is necessary. The patient is certainly concerned about her oral and overall health, but she is probably also thinking about the expense of the treatment, having to ask for time off from work, and a million other little things.
If you find that many of your patients never accept or end up canceling their treatment, there are ways to combat it. Dentists and their team members must learn how to effectively communicate so your patients can achieve optimal oral health and your practice remains successful.
1. Explain the benefits
Explaining the benefits of the necessary or recommended treatment is Persuasion 101. Patients need to know how the treatment will make their lives better.
Let’s say you have a patient with a cracked tooth. While he may be experiencing mild pain, he may not understand the other possible negative repercussion of having a cracked tooth. Rather than starting the conversation negatively, explain how something as simple as dental bonding can reduce their risk of disease, dental sensitivity, and tooth loss.
2. Discuss the risks of postponing treatment
When positive doesn’t work, maybe explaining the risks will. While the patient will likely already know the risks, further explanation about cost and treatment time could help push them towards receiving the recommended treatment.
3. Show empathy and compassion
Trust is the most important part of any relationship. Showing empathy and compassion to your patients can help build that trust and make them more likely to accept treatment. Learning how to speak to your patients in a kind and considerate manner goes a long way in creating an environment that they want to return to!
For example, rather than responding to their excuses with, “regardless, this is the treatment you need,” try this:
“I understand that you are concerned about the treatment time and cost. Our office manager will be happy to sit down and talk with you about our payment options. I think we can find something that works for both of us. As for treatment time, I know it is not ideal, but if you leave this issue untreated now, the treatment will be much more extensive later.”
4. Book the appointment the same day
Make sure your team members understand how to address patients who need to schedule a follow-up appointment. Instead of asking, “would you like to book your appointment today or call and schedule it later?” she should ask, “when would you like to schedule your follow-up appointment?”. This significantly increases the chance that the patient schedules and shows up for their treatment.
5. Send personalized reminders
While automatic text messages and emails are convenient, they are extremely impersonal. Most likely, the patient will ignore the message and not show up for the appointment. Having a team member call each patient to remind him or her about their upcoming appointment is much more effective because the patient feels obligated to keep their word. During this phone call, the team member should ask personal questions about the patient’s work, school, or family to make him or her feels cared for.
6. Discuss payment options
Payment will be a concern for most patients, especially those who don’t have insurance. Be sure to hit the nail on the head by discussing all payment options on the same day that the treatment is recommended. This way, the patient knows there are several ways to take care of their medical expenses without breaking the bank.
For more information on treatment plan acceptance…
call our team at Dental Practice Enhancement! We’re passionate about helping dentists and their dental practices succeed at every level, and we offer the best virtual administrators and trainers in the business.
Call (833) DPE-FOR-U to learn more.