As dentists and members of the practice support team, we tend to naturally believe that the primary reason that patients don’t chose to see us or to take up our treatment plans is because of the cost: WRONG! The 3 top factors cited in not visiting the dentist are, in order of popularity:
We frequently discuss this situation with Breathe clients and look at strategies for overcoming the objections from patients. Over time, our clients have built a comprehensive detailed list of what worries patients about dentistry and here is a summary of that list (in order of popularity):
- Will it hurt at the time?
- Will it hurt afterwards?
- Finding the practice for the first time
- Being reprimanded
- Meeting the dentist
- The equipment
- The instructions
- The drill
- Having injections
- What will be done?
- Why is the treatment needed? Appointment times
- Will I have to wait?
- How the practice is organised
- Will I be at work afterwards?
- Lying down in front of unfamiliar people
- Fingers and instruments in the mouth
- Being unable to speak clearly
- Having to spit in front of someone else
- Will I be embarrassed?
- How long will it take?
- When do I pay?
- How do I pay?
- How much will it be in total?
- Will I look odd afterwards?
- Will I be able to chew?
The purpose of being aware of what worries patients about dentistry is to develop a client experience that overcomes their fears and provides them with the reassurance and information they require, ideally before they even think about the question or ask it. If the dentists and the team are consistently warm, caring, confident and knowledgeable, and rapport and trust has been built with the client, then clients are much more likely to accept the treatment you are recommending (because they see you as trusted advisors) and they will come back again (AND recommend you to their friends).
An important distinction to make is between the issue of cost and the issue of money. Patients worry is not necessarily the overall cost of the treatment, but how they can pay for the treatment and when. Everyone on the team being confident about what the practice offers (including the fees!) makes a considerable difference to how your patients perceive you and trust you.
If you would like to know more about how Breathe can help you develop the right client experience for your practice