Deal with Rude Patients in 7 Steps
Some patients are just impatient, and some patients are grumpy, either way, you have to know how to deal with rude patients. Here are seven easy steps that you can implement with your staff today.
1. Don’t Get Defensive
The patients’ anger probably didn’t originate during their visit, rather it was triggered by something else they have going on in their life. Be sure to keep your perspective straight and your mind on an appropriate solution to the issue they’re facing. Even when you know you did nothing wrong, it’s always best to respond with care and concern.
2. Watch Your Body Language
If possible, sit down. This shows you have time to solve the problem. Your body will tell the story of your emotions better than your words do. When patients are angry, they are likely to push your buttons and may make you angry too. Recognize when you are responding in this manner so you can control your words, tone, body language, and overall response to get the outcome you desire from the rude patients.
3. Limit Communication by Using an Appointment Reminder Program
Sometimes less is more. This is especially true with rude patients who don’t have a friendly personality or are not interested in consistent communication. An automatic appointment reminder will give your patient all the information they need without requiring them to interact with your staff. And with programs like appointmentreminders.com, you can easily implement automatic reminders for a very low cost.
4. Create A Compassion Strategy
Start by saying, “I understand why you are upset” or “I feel our communication has been broken down”. Most importantly, remain calm and take stock of your own emotions. Avoid negative language which may lead to escalation of the situation. You see rude patients at their worst – when they are sick, exhausted, and vulnerable. No one is acting their best in that state. You and your staff can create a compassion strategy to help ease their discomfort from the moment they walk through your door. Small acts of kindness, such as offering hot tea or water while they wait, can make a huge difference in their interaction. Create a simple strategy that your entire staff can implement.
5. Pay Attention
Oftentimes, a situation can be prevented before it unfolds. If your staff is paying attention and being observant they may have an opportunity to prevent a patient from becoming irritable or impatient. By simply addressing your patient’s issue ahead of time, your staff can improve patient care. Difficult patients will often reveal the source of their concern. It’s best to wait until they’ve calmed down so you can take a deep breath and collect your thoughts before responding. Use the patient’s name, speak softly and maintain eye contact. This conveys openness and honesty. Don’t interrupt and mirror their words. The patient may be resistant, defensive, or even frightened.
6. Stay Calm
When all else fails – stay calm! By getting upset you escalate the situation and give your rude patient reason to become even more impatient. You will fuel your patient’s anger by adding oil to the fire. So above all else, remain calm and continue to treat your patient with consideration and respect. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Keep yourself, your patients, and your colleagues safe by staying in control while defusing the situation. It’s okay to end a consultation if a patient is becoming increasingly angry and you don’t think the situation is going to improve – particularly if you feel there is an imminent risk of physical aggression.
7. As the Last Resort, Discharge Your Patient from The Practice
I think the last thing you want to do is lose a patient, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. When a rude patient refuses to cooperate, continues to disrespect your regulations, or insists on abusing your staff; the best thing you can do is dismiss them. Perhaps the most important tip, don’t ignore the problem or avoid communicating with an angry patient. As much as you wish it would, the problem is unlikely to go away on its own. It is important for practices to recognize when a patient is angry, determine the cause of the anger and implement these de-escalation techniques to improve care.
The Benefits of Appointment Call, Email, and Text
The best practice encourages all forward-thinking businesses looking to improve their efficiency with customer relations by implementing an Appointment Reminders online software that allows you to make automated calls, emails, and text reminders.
- Your system’s automatic appointment reminders will provide an email or phone number to contact if they need to cancel so customers can get in touch with you, easily.
- Collecting information about your clients is a critical part of understanding your business, and this includes knowing which of your customers are unreliable and unpredictable.
- Building a relationship with your clients is one of the best ways to ensure repeat business and customer loyalty. Email and text reminders help create consistency and reliable customer service to your clients while requiring little manual work from you!
Remember, every patient is different. Approach each appointment knowing the way your business acts and treats every patient goes to their overall experience. Take the time to listen to their concerns and frustrations regardless of whether they’re related to their health and adjust your behavior accordingly. If you remember these patient management skills, you’ll be rewarded with higher patient retention.
Reminding your customers to come to their appointments is easier than ever through our automated reminder service. Many customers these days even EXPECT you to send them a reminder. Using our automated appointment reminders, you can send a reminder in your customer’s preferred outreach method (call, text, or email) and add specific information about the type of appointment you are reminding them about.