By Dr. Sarah D. Parsons
Dentistry is personal. It’s personal to us because we put our heart and soul into treating patients and growing our business. We have dedicated our life’s work to cultivate our dental practices.
But, there is a patient that is unhappy. A variety of reasons can make a patient unhappy. There is a miscommunication with a team member, a disagreement over finances, or a perceived bad experience by the patient of some type. The patient calls or comes to the office and they are unhappy, so how should you handle this?
First, it is important to stay calm. We as clinicians take these situations very personal. But we must put on our “doctor hat” and try to diffuse the situation in a professional manner without bringing our personal feelings into the situation. We may feel the patient does not understand the situation or does not have all the information. This may be true; however, most unhappy patients just want to be heard.
Invite them into a consultation room or treatment room away from other patients. Hear them out. Let them tell you in their own words why they are upset and unhappy. Your job is to just LISTEN! Many times this diffuses the situation immediately; do not interrupt or try to correct them. Let them tell their perceptions of the situation from beginning to end. Let them know that your hear them and you understand their frustrations. Reassure them that you will be taking the time to review their grievances and that you will help find a way to make it right.
DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT! Do not wait. Immediately document the situation with the patient and write their exact words in quotes. Be sure to call Dr. Randy Kluender or Dr. Candace DeLapp to discuss the situation and the best way to resolve your issue.
We know that your dental practice is personal. That’s why we make it our mission to take these situations as personal as you do. We have licensed dentists who have been in private practice who understand your day to day business. We make it our mission to always take your practice as personal.