This article isn’t about reputation management, Yelp!, or choosing verbiage to respond to negative patient reviews. Instead, I want to discuss how your team members’ words and actions are interpreted by patients.
Most often, dentists who receive bad reviews that mention kind, caring, reputable team members feel betrayed by the reviewing patient. Doctors may also question what’s occurring at the front desk, on the phone, and at check-out, when he or she isn’t present. How can you know that your team is taking great care of your patients? How can you make sure that their words and actions are positive in the eyes of your patients?
How We Get Offended
In most cases, a feeling of being offended is the fault of the offended, not the offender. Think about it: Someone cuts you off in traffic and you get angry. Perhaps the rude driver did it on purpose, but most likely he was negligent rather than vengeful. What made you angry? You assumed the driver cut you off on purpose. You made an assumption that may or may not be true, and because of this assumption, you got angry. If you could write a review about that driver, it would surely be negative!
Now, let’s apply this to a scenario in your front office. Suzy, who has worked for you for 10 years, an employee you know and trust, was pointed out as being rude in a patient’s review of your practice on Yelp! You can’t imagine that Suzy was rude, and Suzy is shocked, too. Is the patient lying? Did the patient misconstrue Suzy’s words or actions? Why would your patient say such things?
The truth is, Suzy may have had her arms crossed, lips pursed, and been staring out the window for just a minute, thinking about her dog needing to go to the vet. The patient may have stopped at the window, seen this, and felt offended that she was not immediately catered to by Suzy. Or, maybe your front office is short staffed, and Suzy has 3 lines on hold, someone checking out, and someone checking in. She was a bit frazzled, and the patient finds this unprofessional.
There is no possible way to keep from offending people, especially if they’re in a mood to be offended. However, you can teach your employees to be conscious of their words and actions when they’re on stage, in front of the patients. While front office personnel may feel tucked away behind a sliding window, they are not hidden. They’re in the spotlight, and they need to be on top of their game.
Train Your Team to Inject Happiness
Everyone on your team needs to buy in to the idea of injecting happiness into every patient that comes through your doors. Even patients who were cut off in traffic, whose children failed algebra, whose dogs just died… e v e r y patient needs to be impacted by the happiness in your office. Besides having a professional appearance, team members should:
- Make eye contact with patients when speaking to them.
- Call patients by name, greeting them by name the moment they arrive.
- Smile all the time – on the phone, when writing, when working on the computer, when talking.
- Ask about the patient – How are you? How is your day? How are you feeling? How was your holiday/weekend/vacation/Super Bowl party?
- Be conscious of body language – don’t cross your arms, raise your eyebrows, or purse your lips;Open your stance, smile from your mouth and your eyes, and use a positive tone of voice. Never roll eyes, whisper behind a cupped hand, or shake your head in frustration while on stage.
If you’d like dental marketing consulting, from your front office to your website SEO, call MDPM Consulting today at 972-781-8861. We offer team tele-training, as well as secret potential patient calls and report cards. If your team leaves people smiling, you’ll always have positive online reviews!