Have you ever heard about the platinum rule? That's right - not the golden rule, but the platinum! I expect you are wondering what the difference is between them.
The golden rule is: "Treat others as you would like to be treated." But I much prefer the platinum rule which is: "Treat others as they would like to be treated." As Adrian Wilkins stated in his book "The way of the superior dentist", "we cannot apply the platinum rule until we really understand the other person. To accomplish understanding, we need to listen."
It sounds so simple but it isn't. We are not born with the ability and understanding of how to be present and connect with a patient, how to appreciate them as real people, how to give hope of a better smile and how to actively listen to understand their position.
Most of you have been told to create rapport with a patient - I believe that this is not enough. The entire team needs to build a relationship with the patient by being genuinely interested in them. They must try to get to know them as human beings and listen, whilst taking in all signs from their body language and tone of voice.
This helps when things don't go to plan, or when a patient is not ready to go for comprehensive-care treatment at that moment. As Adrian Wilkins says: "It is not our responsibility to prejudge whether a patient is interested in the best treatment, but only an educated patient is empowered to choose for himself".
Educating a patient takes time and a TCO can be the perfect solution! Using non-clinical time in the consultation room saves reception the valuable time they need to provide a VIP service at the desk, and leaves the dentist time to actually treat the patient.
If a patient understands their own problems, there is not much selling to be done. Most people will naturally ask for options before you have even formulated a treatment plan. The key is - understanding their problem first, before exploring the possibilities.
The Treatment Coordinator communicates the options, different procedures, prices, and finance plans to the patient. They deal with objections, build value into the treatment, complement the dentist, and explain all the reasons why the patient should proceed, and why to do so with that particular practice.
Patients usually have plenty of questions before moving forward with their preferred choice, but they rarely have direct access to the dentist via e-mail or phone. Talking with reception can also be very frustrating, when they sometimes have to keep repeating who they are and why they are calling.
Having direct access to a TCO who knows them better then anyone else in the practice, helps make the patient feel important and cared for. Case acceptance dramatically increases, making the average practice an outstanding one, with exceptional customer service and a caring team who understands the value of teamwork towards the common goal - having great patient relationships.