Written by Cindy Rogers, RDH
Oh, the excuses we hear from patients on why they do not want to schedule treatment. If you were to take two weeks and write down every excuse you were to hear about why someone did not want to schedule their treatment, I bet that you would find a pattern of the same excuses over and over again.
Excuses are objections and objections are often just requests for help or more information. The following are common excuses we hear and how you can help your patients overcome them and get them back in your chair.
“I am not in pain so I don’t think it is really necessary”
Let the patient know that you understand how they feel. Most people are surprised to learn that pain is the last symptom they will experience with gum disease. This is why over 50% of adults over the age of fifty lose their teeth to gum disease, not decay. Also, when the patient is in the chair, show them the x-ray and point out where the decay is now and how close to the nerve it is. Show them how it may travel toward the nerve and cause extreme pain that may lead to a root canal and crown instead of the small filling you are recommending now. Creating urgency is important in this situation. You do not want your patient to ever be in pain, and you do not want to get a call on Saturday afternoon.
“I’ve been sick, I will call you back when I’m better”
Let the patient know that that you are so sorry to hear that they have been ill. Send the patient a get-well card if the patient lets on that the illness is much more than a man cold. Put the patient on your call back in two weeks’ list. Give the patient time to heal, but do not forget to get back in contact with them. Chances are, you are not the only appointment they had to cancel due to being ill. Having a fuzzy head, they most likely won’t remember to call you back. Consider this exceptional customer service, to help keep track of their health needs.
“My tooth still hurts from the last time I was there”
Let the patient know that you are sorry to hear that and ask them to please share with you how they were hurt. Explain that It may be that she simply needs an adjustment on that small filling your doctor just placed. Explain the techniques that your office can provide to ensure this does not happen again. Then, be sure to put a note in the patient’s chart so that the clinicians will take extra care at her next appointment. Let her know that the doctor would like to see her right away to determine what is causing her discomfort.
“I can’t get out of work”
Remind the patient that most of your other patients have jobs as well. That is why you offer early morning and/or later appointment times. Let them know that you can schedule in advance so that they can request the time off of work. The patient must first understand the value of the appointment. Then they can verbalize to their employer that taking a couple hours off for a preventative appointment may save them missed days in the future.
“I cannot afford to pay for treatment”
Remind the patient that they can’t afford to not have the treatment done. Educate them on the risks they are taking by not having the treatment done. Then explain to them how you have been able to help other patients with this same concern. Review your payment options with them and be sure to give them a couple of options that they are comfortable with.
“My insurance does not cover it”
Explain to them how insurance is not meant to dictate treatment and even though their insurance does not cover it, the treatment is necessary in order to save their tooth or get rid of an infection. Show them the value of having the treatment done. Also explain to them that their insurance benefit not used for this procedure can be used for other treatment that is covered so they will not lose it. Do your best to explain insurance benefits to your patients. It is confusing for us professionals, imagine how confusing it is to your patients.
Remember, an excuse is most likely a request for more information, a way of asking for help. Next time you hear one of these excuses, remember this and see what you can do to help.
Written By: Cindy Rogers, RDH
For many years Cindy has been an integral part of successfully building dental practices from the group up. Cindy is known for creating a harmonious work environment where the whole team looks forward to coming to work every day. The result of this has been massive growth for the practice.
Her passion is to share her success and knowledge with other practices so that they can experience a great team working environment while watching their profitably explode. What you will experience with coaching by Cindy, is somebody that can bring your team together to create your ultimate dental practice, and the ultimate patient experience.
It is through her years of experience in the dental field and the methodologies that Cindy creates she is able to push the next level of success for each dental practice she touches
When not focusing of dentistry, Cindy spend her time with her family exploring the outdoors in beautiful Pacific Northwest.