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Dental Tribune United Kingdom Edition

17 msc_ad_source_uk.pdf 1 03/08/2009 15:21:59 I get blank looks. People gener- ally know what paediatricians, cardiologists, gynaecologists and so on do but not the various den- tal ‘odontists’ (maybe because there are more hospital ‘soaps’ on television than ones about dentists – discuss). I suggest FoH staff (and other team members in the practice) should habitually follow words such as periodontist with a short- hand definition – ‘a gum disease specialist’, for example. An or- thodontist could be a ‘specialist in correcting misaligned teeth’ and an endodontist ‘specialises in root canal treatment’. Describing the reason for a follow-up appointment has potential pitfalls too. “I see you need an appointment with the hygienist for a scale and pol- ish”, is hardly a thrilling sound- ing prospect. “I see the dentist has recommended an appoint- ment with Jacqui, our hygienist, so she can help you maintain healthy gums,” sounds much more acceptable. When we discuss the use of language in my training ses- sions with dental staff, we of- ten agree that there should be a staff meeting where ‘scary’ and jargon words and phrases are brainstormed and alternatives agreed. These preferred words and phrases are then used all the time in the practice – wheth- er talking to patients or not. That way they become the common parlance, not an alternative lan- guage only used when patients are around. They should also be mirrored on your practice web- site and when posting on your social media. I invariably refer to a book called The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds when discussing com- munication. If you throw jelly at a wall it never sticks – just like poor communication. According to Bounds, too much informa- tion and not enough relevance is a problem that pervades almost all business communication. He advocates a lot more relevance and a lot less jelly. Put simply, patients want to know what a dental practice can do for them. They’re less interested in what a dentist who specialises in treat- ing children is called, and are much more interested in how they can help their child. Wheth- er whitening gel contains perox- ide, soap powder or ground up cashew nuts is of less interest than what effect it will have and whether it is safe. So much for what FoH and other practice staff mean pa- tients to hear. But how about what they might overhear? I don’t have particular sensitive hearing and am not some sort of dental practice eavesdropper, but in my many professional vis- its, it’s surprising what I do over- hear. I needn’t give examples of the sort of inappropriate things (commonly described as ‘too much information’) or gossip patients shouldn’t hear – they’re pretty obvious. You should also be careful about what legitimate conversations with patients can’t be overheard by other patients – and don’t overlook that a pa- tient on the telephone may hear what’s being said in the back- ground. Some dental practices (and many other places) play music in the belief that it aids privacy in terms of patients inadvert- ently overhearing conversations. Unfortunately, such background music has so many negative as- pects (see for more information) it’s probably best avoided. You may, however, wish to investigate sound mask- ing systems, which are becoming increasingly common in, for ex- ample, open plan offices, hospital environments and schools. DT About the author A proven manager of change and driv- er of dramatic business growth, Jac- qui Goss is the managing partner of Yes!RESULTS. By using Yes!RESULTS dental practices see an increase in treatment plan take-up, improved patient satisfaction and more appoint- ments resulting from general enquir- ies. Yes!RESULTS turns good practices into great practices. Jacqui Goss Managing Partner Tel: 08456 448066 Mob: 07795 562617 Email: Website: Twitter: @Yesresults ‘Too much infor- mation and not enough relevance is a problem that pervades almost all business communication’ March 26-April 1, 2012United Kingdom Edition Practice Management