How to use communication skills, motivational techniques, and negotiation to help patients develop a deeper sense of commitment and loyalty to the practice.
In her class called Creating the Ultimate Patient Experience at the Business of Dentistry Conference, Amy Morgan, CEO of Pride Institute, taught how to use communication skills, motivational techniques, and negotiation to help patients develop a deeper sense of commitment and loyalty to the practice.
Here are 10 ideas to help you create the ultimate patient experience:
1 – Build Relationships with Patients
Create an extended relationship with patients by fully utilizing online communication tools that patients can access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (like online patient account login, digital forms, online appointment confirmation processes, e-newsletters, and virtual birthday/holiday greetings).
2 – Give Info to New Patients
Use pre-set “we care” questions to shift the focus of your new patient first call from giving and receiving information and making an appointment to building a real relationship based on value and trust.
3 – Reinforce Their Decision to Visit Your Practice
Answer every new patient inquiry with the verbal skill, “You made the right choice calling Dr_____. His/her patients love him/her and you will too!”
4 – Update Your Language
Move away from the old-school medical model that uses words like exam, consult, and recall, and embrace a new model that focuses on collaborative health and well-being with words like evaluation, treatment conference, and re-care.
5 – Ask Questions
Ask a lot of open ended questions to create guided co-discovery, then wait for the patient to ask you, “Is this something we need to handle now?”
6 – Lead Decision Making through Questions
Employ SPIN selling when discussing treatment with patients. Start by asking situation questions, followed by “Why is this a problem?” questions, followed by implication questions that highlight the consequences if the problem persists. End with needs-payoff questions that point to how the patient’s life will be better once the problem is fixed.
7 – Find Out About Their Sleep
Ask every new patient, “How do you sleep?” during the pre-clinical interview.
8 – Talk About Financial Objects
Handle any financial objections by asking, “If finances weren’t a concern for you, would there be anything else keeping you from this very necessary treatment?” After the patient answers, ask, “If we find a financial option that is as stress free as possible, are you willing to look at options?”
9 – Offer Flexible Financing Options
Make sure you have flexible internal financial guidelines that make your dentistry more affordable, especially if you are asking the questions in #8!
Consider financing through CareCredit, which is integrated with Dentrix G7.1 and higher.
10 – Keep the Option for Treatment on the Table
Encourage patients to say “it’s no, for now” instead of “maybe.” When patients have a real relationship with you they don’t want to disappoint you, so when they are thinking “no” they say “maybe.” You hear “yes.” To keep the relationship going in a positive direction, never leave the patient’s decision at maybe.
By Amy Morgan, CEO, Pride Institute
Amy Morgan is a renowned dental consultant and the chief executive officer of Pride Institute. Since joining the institute as a consultant in 1993, she has refined and enhanced its time-proven management systems, which have revitalized thousands of general and specialty dental practices—helping them become more secure, efficient and profitable. Amy is a highly sought-after educator throughout North America and Europe who has been a featured speaker at major dental meetings. She has also been published in major dental publications.
Originally published in the Dentrix eNewsletter, August 2012