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Do you speak the lingo?

15/07/2014 As Bananarama and the Fun Boy Three famously said, "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it." The same is true for communicating with patients...

According to Dr Johnson, "Language is the dress of thought". What we say is obviously important. The way that we say it is often equally as important. I spend a large amount of my time when working with successful teams on what the message is and how best to convey it. Let me give you a few examples...

Potential patient: Do you do teeth whitening?

Practice: Yes, we do Zoom.

Now, from a patient's point of view, what the hell is Zoom?! They have no awareness of this brand and it will just confuse them. Take the time to talk to the patient, find out what they want to achieve and how you can help.

Potential patient: Do you do teeth whitening?

Practice: Yes, we do a Take Home kit.

Again, this means nothing to a patient - they may think you are offering them a takeaway! We are all guilty of using technical jargon from time to time - avoid it with your patients.

Potential patient: Do you do teeth whitening?

Practice: Yes, we do in-surgery whitening and then you get two free syringes to take home.

In this example, it is more a case of the way that you say that is important. The response is perfectly accurate. However, language is emotive and the minute that many patients hear the phrase ‘free syringes', don't be surprised when they run a mile! Why not use something less scary such as ‘conservation kit'- this also gets across the concept that they will need to take action to keep their new sparkling white smile in that state. Or engage them in conversation so that you can find out more - "What has attracted you to zoom or getting your teeth whiter?"

 Maybe it is time for you and your team to review what you say to patients and how you say it?

 


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