Dentists who have been practicing for a quite a long time know all too well that no matter how much one plans, chaos will have a way of creeping up on them. This can come in the form of a hygienist stricken with cold or a set of dentures which delivery date is delayed for a day. Because of the overall stress that dentists have to face, most of the time, their method of handling mishaps has been less than recommended. But no matter what the glitch might be and the severity of it, always remember one thing – it’s never your patient’s fault.
Apologize and explain.
The first step to handling an awkward situation as that is to communicate directly with your patient. For instance, a crown cannot be delivered today, as soon as you get the news get in touch with your patient and explain the situation. Do this before your patient shows up for his or her appointment only to find out that the procedure cannot be done on that day. Once you have apologized, assure your patient that you’re doing all you can to rectify the mistake and explain in terms that he or she can understand the steps which you have undertaken to solve the problem. This will send a message to your patient that you’re on top of the situation. On top of this, a proactive stance will take away the unnecessary and misplaced burden of having to solve the problem themselves from your patients.
The reason for why some dentists cannot afford screw ups is because of the fact that unhappy patients will most likely transfer dentists. Patient loyalty becomes a huge issue now when a mishap happens. So how does one still retain patient loyalty even in the midst of a dental disaster?
On top of a proactive and responsive approach to solving the problem, it’s also a good idea to offer something to try and make your patient’s wait worth their while. While you might be tempted to offer the cheapest freebie or treatment, a token of your apology which your patient won’t fine useful won’t carry the same weight as one which is. Therefore, it’s better to let your patients choose whatever token they want instead that way they can really pick out something which they will find helpful. But if they ask for the moon and the stars, try to offer to items you’re fine giving away and make them choose.