When patients aren’t communicating their feelings and thoughts about recommended treatment, you don’t know what their objections are.
If you don’t understand their objections, you won’t be able to address them; which is fundamental to increasing case acceptance.
When presenting a proposed treatment, you want to engage the patient in a conversation, not talk at them. You should put your patients at ease, and encourage in-depth responses that communicate a patient’s feelings about the proposed treatment.
A good way to accomplish this is through using open-ended questions.
Open-ended questions typically begin with words such as “why” and “how;” or phrases like, “Tell me about _____.” They’re the opposite of closed-ended questions, which can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”
All staff (front and back) should know how to converse with patients using these type of questions.
You can help put patients at ease by asking questions like these:
- How’s your day been going?
- I noticed you live in _____ (city or area). How do you like it there?
- How is your family doing? What are they doing?
- How old are your kids? What do they like to do? What school(s) do they go to?
- Where do your family members work?
- What kind of work do you do? (Ask them to tell you about it, what they enjoy and run into in that type of work, etc.)
- How did you find out about our office? What made you choose us?
- What was your previous experience at the dentist office like?
You can encourage patients to open up about their concerns by asking:
- What brought you to our office today?
- Last time you were here, we looked at your doing ______. What thoughts have you had about getting this done?
- What are you most concerned with about your teeth?
- How would you like to improve your teeth, gums, or oral health?
- What outcome are you looking for?
- What are your thoughts about this [treatment]? (Ask this after a treatment option is presented.)
- What concerns (or questions) do you have that would prevent you from moving forward with the treatment?
- What do you feel might be the consequences of not doing this treatment? (This is very important for a patient to see.)