Something that comes up all the time when I'm talking to dentists is, "How do I get my staff to talk to patients about treatment and perhaps even talking to patients about money?" And what I would say to these dentists is number one, you've got to get comfortable doing it yourself so that your staff can role-model the behavior that you want them to emulate. But I will give you a couple of quick tips.
If you want the staff to feel more comfortable talking about treatment and talking about money, the first thing I would say is, "Ask them to get comfortable asking questions." And the reason why I like you to ask questions is because it helps you to learn what the patient already knows. Because when you learn what they know, the follow-up questions become very, very simple.
Two questions that every staff should feel comfortable saying to a patient.
The first one is, "I noticed--" and then follow through. "I noticed the doctor has diagnosed that one of your teeth are cracked," or, "Perhaps, one of them is broken. Miss Jones, I'm wondering if you've given any thought to this cracked tooth? Or if you've given any thought to what the doctor has said?" So you ask questions because you want to learn what the patient already knows.
The second question that I would ask
"Have we ever told you what we're worried about would happen to you if no treatment is ever done to this tooth?" I like it when you ask it this way, "Have we ever described this to you?" Or, perhaps, "Has the doctor ever described this to you?"
The answer that we normally get is, "No. Nobody's ever told me anything about this." Well, then it opens it up for us to ask, "Well, would it be okay if I told you what he was really worried about? Or what we get worried about when we see a tooth is cracked?" You'll get an answer from them, but that answer is going to just lead you to the next question.
So if you want to get your staff comfortable talking to patients about money or about treatment, I would start with letting them say, "Hey, I've noticed whatever and I'm wondering if we've ever done something for you." So that's my quick tip for you today.
Want help with patient communication, scheduling, and training your team? Consider the upcoming Implementing Complete Care Dentistry course.