Kindergarten for Dentists – Use Your Words

by Dr. Ron Arndt

In Kindergarten, this meant for us to use our words instead of picking a fight. But, what about in dentistry? How can we use our words for the success of our practice?

Dental practice and marketing experts suggest that we learn how to use the right “language” when speaking with our patients to ensure that we get the results we want. This goes for us and our dental office team, as well.

As dentists – and business owners – sometimes we unintentionally “steer” our patients away from doing what we want them to do. We may say things like:

  • Would you like to make an appointment for that [cleaning, cosmetic procedure, etc] now or just let me know some other time?
  • Did you want to go ahead and pay today, or do you just want us to send you a bill?
  • If you need to cancel, please just let us know.

When you speak in language like that – flexible, subconsciously ‘weak’ language – you are actually giving patients a choice. You are saying that it’s okay to make an appointment another time, pay when they can, cancel if they remember to or avoid an important procedure.

If you believe in the service and value that you are providing your patient – and have confidence – patients notice that.  Consider making this “word adjustment” in your practice and see what benefits come about for you. You are the healthcare professional; if you are confident in what you have to say and request of your patients, they will listen. For example, change those sentences to be:

  • I have Tuesday at 2pm and Friday at 4pm.Which of these two days works best for your next appointment?
  • Mrs. Cuomo, your total investment is $1,500.00. How would you like to pay for this? We accept cash and can offer you a 5% pre-payment bookkeeping courtesy; your credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover); or we can arrange third-party financing. Which do you prefer?
  • I wanted to remind you, Mrs. Stanich, we expect a 48-hour notification if you cannot make your appointment so that we can provide that time for another patient that is in need.

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