Here’s What To Say When You’re Strapped For Time…

One of the dental practice team members at a practice I coach asked me the following question:

“Is it better to send an SMS message, or to phone each patient, to give them the news that we need to move their appointment because we’ve had Department of Health restrictions imposed upon us about what sort of treatments we can provide to our patients during the latest pandemic conditions?”

And I had no hesitation in answering:

“It’s best to phone every one of them.”

Why is this so?

Nobody likes to receive written messages, when a personal spoken message is an option and a viable alternative.

And, the message [above] that we have to let our patients know is one of those messages that I would call a BAD NEWS message.

And messages bearing bad news are ALWAYS best delivered in person, verbally.

And in this case that means getting on the phone.

Because, with a message like this, there will always be questions from the patient.

And an SMS message does not respond to questions as well as well-trained human can respond.

The reality is…

The reality of the situation above is that our message will come as a disruption of plans to our patient.

And with that disruption there will be disappointment.

The purpose of our call is not to simply MOVE THE PATIENT’S APPOINTMENT ALONG, but it is to create a WIN-WIN situation.

At the completion of this call we must leave the patient in a state of pleasure and enjoyment that they have been glad to converse with us, and glad to hear from us, “oh and by the way, we need to move your appointment.”

So that the patient sees that the moving of the appointment is an addendum to the call, although it is the primary reason for the call.

Because the call can be so much more than simply a call that states:

“We need to move your appointment.”

We can ask the patient, when we call, how they are.

We can ask the patient whether they need anything, or whether we can get them anything, or whether they’d like us to do this for them. [This is an OFFER THE OFFERTM type situation, where the making of an offer that is often rejected is actually better than the doing of the offer].

Remember, the person on the other end of the phone is a real live human being with emotions and feelings and concerns.

And they will FEEL the concern for them in your voice when you ring and ask with sincerity:

“How are YOU going?”

Take the time.

Take the time to be a friend.


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