We have all said this under our breath:

“What a difficult patient!”

You know the patient…

  • You can’t seem to find a time that suits them.
  • They cancel all the time.
  • You are always following them up.
  • They never want to have all their treatment completed.
  • They are in pain and want an appointment immediately.
  • They complain because your fees are too high.
  • They are always late.
  • They are always cranky on the phone and in the surgery.
  • They ask so many questions.

And the list goes on and on and on…

What if I now said to you that the patients who have always been difficult are not difficult, they are confused?

I know you would think I’m crazy!

The dictionary defines a person who is difficult as:

a person who is not easy to please or satisfy; awkward.

What if your difficult patient is not easy to satisfy, because you are not satisfying them?

Yes, I do believe that there will always be those patients where, no matter what you do, you will just never be able to satisfy their needs.

You then get to decide if these are the patients you really want coming back to your office.

But what if you are missing the mark with some of your difficult patients because you are not meeting their needs?

What if you have now turned a reasonable person into a difficult patient?

I do believe the difficult patient is really not difficult all of the time but is responding to a particular situation where their needs are not met.

Being difficult is a behaviour that most of us show when we are:

  • Confused
  • We don’t fully understand what is going on.
  • Faced with a problem
  • Unsure
  • Scared/concerned
  • Upset
  • Frustrated

The next time you answer the phone or you are confronted by a patient who appears to be difficult, start to look at why they are being difficult.

What has caused them to have this behaviour?

I know this can be challenging.

I know I was challenged many times myself, by patients responding in a difficult way.

I started to figure out that if I was able to get to the bottom of what was causing the patient to be difficult, then I was often able to offer a solution.

The best way to get to the cause of why a patient is being difficult is to start asking the patient questions.

Not just any questions but real searching and problem solving questions.

Once you genuinely want to know why the patient is feeling a certain way you will usually get to the bottom of the patient’s frustration.

Asking the right questions leads to:

  • The patient calming down and starting to trust you.
  • The patient opening up to you.
  • A solution.

The real skill in dealing with a “difficult patient”, is to ask calming questions to find what the problem really is, and then offer suitable solutions.

Finding out and then offering a solution is the key to turning a difficult patient into a happy and appreciative patient, and everyone wants that!



How To Turn Every Dental Phone Call Into A Valued and Kept Appointment- “Dental Phone Excellence is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system that works.

Sydney Master Class- Friday 27th September 2019

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Brisbane Master Class– Friday 11th October 2019

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Melbourne Master Class– Thursday 21st November 2019

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Dental Phone Excellence is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary dental practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

If you’d like to know more, download my sixteen page FREE special report “How I Quickly and Easily Went From 35% to 77% New Patient Telephone Conversions, and Doubled The Size of my Dental Practice Along the Way” and discover some of the many costly mistakes being made on your phone…..


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