Sandy Pardue, Consultant/Classic Practice Resources
Sandy Pardue, Consultant/Classic Practice Resources
Management and Organizational solutions for dental practices.
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Sandy Pardue

Consultant Tip: Handling Patient Complaints

Consultant Tip: Handling Patient Complaints

4/7/2013 6:47:41 AM   |   Comments: 0   |   Views: 7021
Since dental practices deal with all kinds of people, there will be complaints from time to time no matter how well organized you are and/or how skillful your team. Hopefully you hear about them so you can handle them properly and get the patient happy and coming back in the future. Ignoring complaints or not properly handling them will cause good patients to go elsewhere.

Dental practices are in the people business; It is very important to have all team members ready to handle any complaining patients so that there is a positive outcome.

1. Do not interrupt a patient at any time, especially while handling a complaint. If a patient is upset, let that person have their say completely before answering them. It's sort of like water in your gas tank. You're a lot better off to empty the tank before putting more gas in it!

2. If a patient is angry, do not get upset yourself and lose control. Like the Good Book says, "Ask and ye shall receive" and that includes trouble!

3. Make sure you have all the information even if you have to ask the patient to repeat the complaint. For example, "Mr. Sills, could you tell me again what happened when you saw the hygienist? I want to make sure I understand the situation fully."

4. Apologize, even though it may not have been you who personally offended him. You are obviously representing the office in this case.

5. After hearing the patient out and fully understanding the predicament, ask what can be done to correct the situation. You do not have to make any promises at this point. Just let them know you are earnest in trying to correct it.

6. Remember to see the problems from the patient's viewpoint and tell them so, and /or apologize using such statements as, "That's understandable," "I understand how you feel," "I appreciate your position," "I'm sorry about what happened," "I'm sorry if there was a misunderstanding," "I'm sorry if we did something to upset you.

7, Always thank them for the feedback.

By using these simple communication tools you can stop trouble before it starts or resolve a problem and turn a negative situation into a positive one. Remain cheerful and go for it!

Sandy Pardue, Consultant

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