Rich & Happy Dentist eZine

21 Jun

Top 7 Reasons Your Patients Won’t Talk

1.  They’ve been trained – not necessarily by you, but by our industry in general.  Patients are used to going to the dentist, being told what is wrong, then bracing themselves to be convinced of why they ought to do something about the problem YOU discovered.  They are used to being educated and told what to do. Patients traditionally have not had a say in plans for potential treatment.  You may need to guide them a bit – maybe even set the stage by letting them know that with their permission, you’d like to involve them in the process a little more than they have been in the past.

2.   They are ready to go – your new patient had to wait 15 minutes before they were seen, fill out pages and pages of paperwork,  wait another 10 minutes in the operatory, wait for the doctor, wait for the x-rays, wait for who knows what else – the last thing they want to do is sit around and ‘talk’.  Keep it brief.  Remember what’s most important and defer the rest to the planning appointment, or even the beginning of treatment.  Most of all, respect your patients’ time!

3.  We are talking too much – Remember the 80/20 rule.  If you are telling, explaining, or educating you’re probably not in a good place.  Your patients will come up with the answers – just be sure you are asking the right questions and allowing them to be involved in the process.

4.  We aren’t asking open-ended questions – Re-visit the questions you are asking your patients – if they start with ‘is’ or ‘are’, your patients probably won’t talk much.  Re-vamp those questions to start with ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘when’, etc.

5.  We don’t understand the ‘power of the pause’  – Do you find yourself answering questions for your patients?  Or filling the silence in some other way?  Just let it happen.  Your patient will answer you…  if you allow them to do so.

6.  They are fearful or distrusting – The right questions will identify what’s going on.   All patients want to be in control – especially these folks.  Asking questions like, ‘what can I do to make you as comfortable as possible?’ ‘How do you see us helping you?’, etc. will build trust.   They need to know that they are driving the bus.

7.  They just don’t have a talkative personality – You will have to be extra mindful of all of the above when you run into a patient that is just not talkative – for no reason other than personality.  Remember, they came to you – you didn’t drag them off of the street.  They took the initiative to pick up the phone, schedule an appointment and drive to your office.  Your job is to find out why.

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