Every time you communicate, you’re trying to do something, change something, or move someone to action. You’re trying to make a point. But the only way to make a point is to have a point. And the surprising truth is, very few communicators know their points or even understand what a point is, rendering them pointless.
Sydney J. Harris said, the two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.
In Dentistry we have historically weighted our communications with patients using the information telling and selling model. This has led us to believe that we have communicated well with each patient yet wonder why they never go forward with our recommendations for their dental health.
You can change your world by changing your words. Clear, concise, confident, effective communications lead to creating a community of patients getting healthier because they heard and understood your recommendations.
Word Shifting: Make Your Words Matter
Say it right: Communicate & Connect with everyone
Rescheduling patients who arrive late
Don’t say—You know you’re late. You can’t have your appointment.
Do say—Mrs. Johnson, thank goodness you’re OK. Wait right here to let me see what we can do to possibly accommodate you today. (Walk to the back find out, if you know the answer still walk to the back, wait 30-60 seconds and then return to the business office)
Our doctor works on a schedule and his next appointment is due momentarily. In order to give you the quality of care you deserve, we need to reschedule your appointment.
When patients call to tell you, they are going to be late:
DO NOT SAY OK!
Mrs. Patient, are you on your way? How much longer do you feel you will be? We are concerned about you arriving safely, drive carefully and in the meantime, I will check with the doctor (or our hygienist to see how we might be able to accommodate your late arrival.
When you call patients who are already late:
Mrs. Patient, are you on your way? We are so concerned because your reserved appointment time started (10 minutes ago). How much longer do you feel you will be? We are concerned about you arriving safely, drive carefully and in the meantime, I will check with the doctor (or our hygienist) to see how we might be able to accommodate your late arrival.
Rescheduling patients that can’t be accommodated:
Mrs. Patient I am sure you can appreciate that we have reserved appointment times so that we can care for everyone in a timely manner. Today with your late arrival we will not be able to provide the care you had agreed you wanted. What I would like to do for you is reserve a time for you so we can count on you being here and you will also know that you can absolutely count on us taking care of you at that time.