To succeed as a dentist, you need to be able to exercise clinical skills and training, but you also need to be able to communicate with patients and build a rapport.
In an age where reviews and feedback carry more weight than ever before, communication and customer service are essential elements of modern-day dental business success.
Why is communication important?
There are several reasons why communication is important both in terms of making patients feel comfortable and increasing your chances of running a successful dental business.
If you were to put yourself in your patient’s shoes, how would you feel if you climbed into a dental chair, and your dentist had nothing to say or they came across as aloof or disinterested? Many patients want to be greeted with a smile, they want to know what is going to happen to them when they get into that chair, and they want to be reassured. Dental anxiety is an incredibly prevalent problem, and if you’re feeling anxious, a friendly, talkative, supportive dentist can make all the difference. Communication can help to put patients at ease, it can lower levels of anxiety and fear, and it can also create a much warmer and more pleasant atmosphere. Many people read reviews and ask for recommendations before choosing a dentist today, and customer service is an integral factor in review scores. A patient may be reluctant to recommend a dentist even if they have done a brilliant job if they weren’t polite, for example.
Information and advice
Clear communication is also key for informing patients about dental conditions say’s Dr Mark Hughes from Define Clinic, offering advice and information and providing details about costs and the types of treatment that could be beneficial. As a dentist, you’re familiar with all the jargon and technical terms, but the majority of people you come across won’t necessarily know what you mean if you speak in dental talk.
If there is an issue, for example, a patient has a cavity, they want to know what the problem is, why it’s potentially dangerous, what can be done about it, and how much treatment is going to cost. If you can convey information succinctly and clearly, this will be hugely beneficial for your patients. In many cases, patients feel scared because they don’t fully understand what the issue is and what the solution entails.
If you tell somebody they need a root canal, for example, they might immediately feel panicked and terrified. If you relay this information and then take the time to explain what that procedure involves, how you can reduce and prevent pain, and how it will benefit them moving forward, this could help to make the patient feel more comfortable and content.
Effective communication methods
We tend to think of communication as talking, but there are other ways of opening up channels of communication and building a bond with patients. Body language is important, and it’s crucial to listen, as well as to talk. Welcome your patients with a smile, engage in eye contact, and ask them how they are. Listen to them if they have concerns or questions.
Communication in the 21stcentury doesn’t just involve face to face contact in a dental surgery. Today, there are multiple channels open to dentists, and you can reach out to patients in many different ways, for example, sending text reminders for appointments and sharing news and events at the practice via social media sites like Facebook. Use platforms like this to interact with clients, respond to queries and show off the treatments and services you’re offering.
Communication plays an increasingly important role in modern dentistry. Building bonds with patients and creating a friendly atmosphere benefits patients, as well as dentists aiming to run successful businesses, attract new clients and keep hold of existing patients.