Take a second and think, think about that one patient or family that comes into the office and always gives you and your dental team a hard time. Yah, think about Phyllis and how every time she comes in she complains about the last time she was in the dental office, and why she can't pay the bill. Ever so often we have these crabby patients that come in and throw our entire day off. How are you handling these patients? Have you and your team sat down and talked about how to handle Phyllis. Doctors, do you and your team know how to show up in these situations? Have you ever thought about how much it costs you to have a crabby patient, if you don't show up a certain way?


Imagine you have a practice that does about $5000 a day, which makes you about $1million dollar practice. You walk into the office on a Monday morning, look at the schedule and realize that Phyllis is coming in. Now, in that moment you already know what to expect, you know exactly how that appointment is going to go, you may even have it impact your up to that appointment entirely. Let's assume that appointment with Phyllis impacts your day by 10%, essentially ruining your week. A 10% impact on a $5000 a day practice, that's $500 a day multiple that by the 4 days that you work, that's $2000 week! Now, I'm sure Phyllis isn't the only patient that comes in and your groan about there's also Anthony. Imagine Anthony and Phyllis come in both in the same month... That's $4000/month, $48000/year. There's even more loss if you go into case presentation after letting your crabby patients impact your attitude. Chances of you closing a $25000 case after an appointment with Phyllis or Anthony is slim to none.

Add all of this up and realize that crabby patients could be impacting your 50-100 thousand dollars a year or so. The reality of the situation should have you leaning back in your chair thinking, "Do I really want this person as a patient, is it worth it?" At some point you need to make a decision.

One of the greatest gifts that you can give your practice and your team is on Wednesday night 8/7c, Survivor. Giving them the ability to vote a few patients off the island. We all have those few patients that we just don't enjoy, so put a plan in place that the next time they are unpleasant you and your team can address it with the patient.

Say Phyllis calls the office and starts yelling at you, your typical response would be to talk back, give them a piece of your mind even. Lets try listening, the next time Phyllis calls, Listen! Listen! Listen! At some point if you don't say anything they'll come back at you wondering if you're even still on the phone. Remain calm, tell them you're taking notes, make them feel heard, let them know if there's anything else they'd like to say that you're listening. Ask them once more, 'Is there anything else' - at that point you may even get them to apologize for the way they spoke to you earlier.

Keep in mind that maybe Phyllis has a hard time when it comes to finances because of past medical bills, you might just be the stranger that walks in broke the straw and let them unravel, this might have nothing to do with you at all. With that being said, don't take Phyllis's words personally, keep that mind set, stay constructive and realize that maybe she is just hurting.

Lets assume the team has voted Phyllis off the island, now what? Have the doctor call if he doesn't have the time, if he does invite her in, and sit her down and explain that as much as you appreciate her, her referrals and her business that it's no longer a good fit. Explain to her that you love your team and can't have them continue to be treated the way they have been. Then ask Phyllis to join another dental practice, again, explain to her that you're more than happy to send her records to someone else for her. Where ever she'd like. —- Usually if the call/talk is handled this way, Phyllis will apologize and explain why she's acted the way she has been. Talk with her again and decide whether to transfer or not, you can't lash out back, you need to be calm cool and collective. You're doing this to help them, and help your practice. The goal is that your team and practice is comfortable, and your patients are comfortable.

Have a plan in place, practice it. Remain Calm, remain calm under pressure. Think Clearly. Role Play this with your team in the morning huddle, sit down and chew your teammate out! It'll both be liberating and it'll teach your team how to remain calm.

These simple steps will improve profitability allowing for raises, parties, vacations, etc for yourself and the team. So don't be afraid of the crabby patient. Have patience and stand up for your practice and your team.

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