July Coach’s Corner | Case Acceptance Question

I received an email from a Coach’s Corner viewer asking me about case acceptance. Specifically for some new ideas or approaches that he could use in his practice.

When I think about the subject of case acceptance I immediately think of a process. There are so many factors that are involved with a patient deciding to get their dental work done and every member of your team contributes to case acceptance. Let me use an example from a new patient perspective. The new patient experience starts with their first contact with your office –typically via a phone call. Each interaction with a patient should utilize great customer service skills within a stress-free environment. By reviewing each interaction, you are focusing on making the new patient’s visit the best it can be. This is essential when starting your new patient relationship – each step can make or break your patient to saying yes or no to treatment. That is why I think of a process.

Think of any new relationship or friendship you have been a part of. Trust is not given automatically; it is earned over time. The same thing can be said for your new patient. If their experience has not been a smooth and professional one before they sit in your chair, that could create a hurdle you will need to overcome when meeting them the first time.

Once your new patient is in your operatory, this is your moment as the clinical professional to wow them. I have worked with a lot of introverted dentists and your communication style does not need to be complex. Some tend to overthink it. I always like for dentists to welcome your patients like you would welcome someone in your home. Be relaxed, warm, and inviting.

I like for my clients to ask the patient what their goals are, what do they need. By asking this question, it helps with building trust since you are giving them the freedom to tell you what they are looking for as well as starting your relationship on a positive note. Of course, you are the clinical expert but their response to that question helps you craft your answer taking into consideration what clinical needs they may have.

Here is an example – if someone wants whiter teeth but they present to you with perio issues the standard thing is to tell the patient you will address their perio issues and give guidance on better home care. Chances are that is what you might typically say first. Instead, first address their wants by saying you agree with them that their smile could benefit from some bleaching products, and you appreciate them sharing their goals with you. In order to do that, their oral health is a top priority followed by their goal of whiter teeth. When patients tell you their personal thoughts, they are allowing themselves to be vulnerable to you and your judgement. By addressing that first and saying that is something you can do alleviates what is on their mind, not yours. They are waiting to see if you agree with them and if you will respect what they want. This discussion doesn’t need to be either/or- it is an “and” conversation.

Another way of saying it is to be sure to connect the dots in such a way that your patient is heard and understood. By changing your perspective from telling your patients what they need to asking them what they want is a game changer in your practice. This is the way they are communicating to you. Of course, as the clinical professional, you know in what order the list needs to be completed. Give guidance from a positive standpoint with your patients and I am sure your case acceptance will increase.

If you have a question you would like to be answered in an upcoming Coach’s Corner, please let me know. Chances are if you have a question, others will as well. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please get in touch with me at lynne@victorydentalmanagement.com.