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Practice Success Tip

Effectively Handling the Upset Patient

In an ideal world, we are able to make every patient happy and satisfied every day, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. When you encounter an upset patient, it is extremely important that you acknowledge that person and his/her concerns in a positive way. I like the acronym L.E.A.P.S. to teach my clients and their staff how to react in this situation: Listen, Empathize, Apologize, Positive, and Solve.

Allow the patient to vent and listen attentively to what they are saying. Do not interrupt them or begin to speak until they have had their say.
Acknowledge the patient’s feelings. Make sure that your tone of voice is in sync with your words.
Even if the problem is not caused by you or directly related to you, you can say “I am really sorry that this happened,” and mean it.
Always state what you CAN do for the patient rather than telling them what you CAN’T do.
Generate and suggest solutions that you can solutions that you can both agree on and/or ask what you can do to help. If the patient makes a reasonable suggestion, do it! If not, find a compromise.

Finally, you should always go the extra step and follow up on the solution. Contact the patient again to make certain that the issue has been handles in a manner that is satisfactory to them, and ensure that they are pleased with the outcome. Remember to ask if there is anything else that you can do for them. Taking the time to ask this question often results in increased business and a more committed patient.


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