Strengthening Chairside Communication 101

What single initiative within a dental office has the potential to immediately boost patient satisfaction? Studies show that credentials and clinical expertise have a lesser impact on patient satisfaction ratings than simple, effective communication between doctor and patient. In other words, dentists who take the time to educate their patients, explain treatment in layman’s terms, and follow up after non-routine visits cultivate lasting relationships and greater satisfaction with their care.

WHY STRENGTHENING COMMUNICATION MATTERS

If you want your relationships with your patients to be transactional, perform patient treatment as a transaction. If you want your patients to yield the fruits of a lifelong investment, treat your patients as an investment. Strong patient relationships bring return appointments, referrals, and strong online reviews. However, developing the strong communication skills that foster trusting patient relationships requires commitment. This is because the time constraints facing today's busy dental practices threaten the amount of "face time" most dentists get to spend with their patients--when schedules get tight, one of the first dental office casualties is communication. Good communication must therefore come about as an office-wide priority if it's really going to happen.

Weak communication can quickly erode the dentist/patient relationship, which then increases the chance of noncompliance with treatment and patient turnover. Malpractice suits—particularly those related to misunderstood treatment expectations—are often caused by poor dentist communication, as warned by insurers. Additionally, the large population of “dentist avoiders”, those who dodge dental treatment despite the many advancements that make dental treatment painless, may be a product of bad communication between dentists and patients. Dental anxiety festers in patients where lack of understanding feeds imagination unremittingly.

WHAT CONSTITUTES WEAK COMMUNICATION

It's good to know what to avoid. Some examples of weak communication in a dental office include

1.) Rushing through the explanation of a procedure or after-care instructions

2.) Forgetting to follow up after a surgery or otherwise eventful appointment by call or text within 24 hours

3.) Failing allow time for a patient to voice a question or concern.

At Platinum Recall, we specialize in training doctors and staff in strong chairside communication. From tone of voice to body language, we know the best practices in the industry. If you are looking for office training, a dental call center, dental management services, dental accounting or dental bookeeping, 24/7 phone answering service or a professional patient reactivation and retention service, or even if you are asking, "How do I sell my practice?" we've got you back. Please try a free demo today or call 800. 900. 2012 for a free consultation.

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