There will be times when you have to interact with unhappy patients. They may be upset because they had to wait, their bill is wrong, or the practice doesn't accept their insurance. In the face of adversity, you must respond in a calm, reassuring manner.
Focus on solving the problem. Zero in on the issue at hand, whether it's billing, scheduling, or something else. Empathize with the patient. Use language, such as "I understand how you feel, and I will do everything I can to resolve this issue as quickly I can." If it's within your power to solve the issue, do so. If it will take more time and research, tell the patient what's involved and that you'll call with an update by the next day.
Don't let your emotions get the best of you. When responding to patients who are angry or upset, you may be tempted to let them have it. Don't. Your job is to defuse the situation, not make it worse. If you feel your temper rising, ask for assistance from the office manager or another team member.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit www.levingroup.com/gpseminars.
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