Case presentation begins with setting the stage for success – build an atmosphere with the dental team of learning, how to show patients we care, and to take all negativity out of communication about dentistry and overall health. Some people view the patient-dentist relationship as adversarial. To counter this mindset, every aspect of your case presentation needs to create a warm, friendly feeling that puts the patient at ease and reassures them that you have their best interests at heart.
The #1 priority for the dental team should be to inspire the trust of each patient. Dentistry is essentially a relationship business built upon trust. Beyond a toothache, patients don’t usually understand their dental needs. Hence, patients must first perceive trust in the dentist and team. Patient perceptions are extremely important – that is reality as far as they are concerned. Create a sense of commonality and connection by showing them you care about them by being interested in them not interesting about yourself.
Take time with new patient call, have a professional consult room for private discussions, assign a team member to manage treatment plans and open your mind to the current era of communication and human connection. Case acceptance can be learned skills and techniques’ providing the learning is based on a strong foundation of understanding of overall wellness, belief that every person deserves the right to know what dentistry has to offer and they make their own decisions.
Begin with a memorable and different greeting when they arrive, smile, hand shake or touch of the shoulder. The objective is to make them comfortable enough to share about themselves with you while you passively listen with acknowledgement of their statements; plant openers to encourage them keep talking and picking out ONE thing that is unique to them that makes them memorable.
You know they are ready to move forward from approach/initiate into the next step when they lean into towards you, they seem comfortable and open to you and share their personal information about their family, occupation, recreation and indicate they have time for your interview.
Once they feel you are interested in them Rapport is created and you have earned the right to interview them about their health, dentistry, lifestyle and what they value.
Greeting—erase “how are you and replace with more creative greeting. “Hello Mrs. Smith, I’m Jenny, I’m so glad to see you today”
Name—don’t assume their chart name is their “preferred name”. Take the time to ask what they preferred to be called and use it regularly during the first 4 minutes of building rapport. The preferred name is also useful when you see the patient drift off, as once you call their name they come back to you and the current conversation.
Get the patient talking about themselves using the F.O.R.M. technique. The structure most people talk about themselves follows form. F stands for Family- marriage, kids, relatives, etc.., O stands for Occupation- what they do for a living, R stands for Recreation—what they do for fun. The key is to listen for and document one thing that makes the person Memorable to you and the practice.
What causes breakdowns in Rapport building?
• You skip a warm greeting.
• Use too much dental jargon.
• Talk about yourself and your issues.
• Ask a question then ignore their answer.
• Interrupt them when they are speaking
• Don’t use their preferred name.
• No eye contact and matching of their pace
Stay Tuned for more on the key fundamentals of Case Presentation next week …