One of the most important aspects of increasing treatment acceptance is to give your dental patients what they want. When I work with dentists and teams on fine-tuning their overall patient experience, one of the common areas out of alignment is that no one asks what matters most to the patient. This is especially true when the patient has a lot of pending dental treatment.
American businessman Roy Williams once said, “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” How often do you and your team ask about the patient’s priorities when it comes to treatment?
A few years ago I played the “fly on the wall” in a dental practice, observing exams and other patient interaction. The dentist had a new patient in the chair who had not received any type of dental care for many years, and the patient had a laundry-list of needs.
The dentist was about to preview the treatment plan and lead the patient in a specific direction when he paused, remembering I was standing outside the operatory. The dentist then asked the patient a simple question about treatment: “What matters most to you.” The patient, who had an upcoming job interview, pointed to his chipped front tooth and said, “I’d like to get this fixed.”
Guess what the dentist recommended as the first priority. And after the momentum was created by giving the patient what he wanted, it was much easier to schedule the next phases of the treatment plan.
Certainly in situations where acute pain is involved you may have to proceed differently. But it is still important to ask your patients about their priorities. Then you have a roadmap for how to exceed their expectations.
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