8.5.11 Issue #491 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Keeping Pace with Communication Styles
Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

With the many generations that frequent the dental office, the modes of communication need to be varied to suit their requests. Instead of face-to-face or phone conversations as the main mode of communication, we now have the younger generations and the not so young that prefer texting or email. Email is not limited to the PC or the laptop, it is now instant on the smart phones, Droids, iPhones etc. Land-line phones are declining in usage and more and more patients are requesting that we contact them by cell phone or email/texting.

In the past, the telephone has been the standard way that patients have contacted dental offices to ask questions about insurance, financing and services offered. Now, however, this same information and more can be found on the website without speaking to anyone. Forms can be filled out online and appointments scheduled without speaking to the scheduling coordinator. All the more reason to have the best website design available, with continually updated and enhanced information! Don’t have a website? Then you will not be considered as technically savvy or as skilled as the dentist who does have a well designed website.

“We believe in a more personal approach to our patients” says Betty, who has worked in the same office for twenty some years and calls all of the patients to confirm their appointments. This is great for some, but not for all. Email and text are considered personal to those who receive this communication, and since the patients are the ones requesting email communication, it is important to give patients what they want despite personal opinion.

Email communication lacks the emotion of vocal tone, but often emotion is read into email. All caps in text is considered “shouting.” Short, terse sentences can be considered as “I don’t have the time to talk to you right now.” Phone etiquette dictates that we take the time to listen to patients and connect on a personable level. Applying this concept to email is just as important, and it often takes more time to think about what you want to say in text versus the easier flow of conversation on the phone.

Email is permanent and can be read over and over, but the details of conversation are often blurred as we remember only about 20% of what we hear. Using proper email etiquette is as important as learning how to correctly answer the phone.  Make sure words are spelled correctly and that you are writing complete sentences and not using confusing abbreviations. Don’t exchange funny, political or religious information - even though it may seem harmless. Every mode of communication must represent the professional image of the practice.

The information highway is to our advantage, but also can be the highway of truths and falsehoods. Sites that are designed for people to post reviews of dental practices are great if you are surveyed in a positive light. However, if you weren’t at the top of your game for one day, an unfavorable review could be posted for thousands to see or the system can be manipulated so that these reviews come up first when your name is placed in a search engine. One dentist reported to me that it took her three weeks to get an unfavorable review off the internet.

Monitoring these communication styles is more time consuming, because in addition to checking phone messages we are checking email messages and we may have a program running that does internal marketing and appointment confirming that we need to check also. Most people are not inclined to give you their email address in the dental office, so remembering to ask for it is another task on our daily list.

Facebook is the place to be these days for personal and business communications.  More and more people sign up daily to keep up with friends, family and business connections. Being on Facebook is important to a dental practice as it adds a friendly, approachable feel to the practice and again, it is to be monitored in a professional manner. With so many ways to stay connected, there isn’t an acceptable excuse to not be accessible to your patients and people who are researching to find the dental practice that meets their needs.

Need help designing a website and building marketing tools for your exceptional practice? Contact McKenzie Management’s marketing department today at 1-877-777-6151

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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