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Difficult Patients

Posted by Ilena Di Toro | Posted on July 21, 2020

Like it or not, you and your staff will have to deal with a patient who isn’t happy with the glasses or contacts he or she received from you or the patient makes difficult for you and your staff to do your job. Thankfully, there are different levels of difficulty that you and your staff can address.

This patient is mostly pleasant and is not a complainer. The problem is that he or she is friendly to a fault. It can be a senior woman who likes to go on and on about the accomplishments of her grandchildren or a 30 to 40 something guy who is trying to get a date from either the receptionist or the optician or the optometrist. With these persons it is best to redirect them to the task at hand, such as “How nice. So, which looks better A or B?” for the grandmother or “Sorry, it is against company policy for employees to date patients.” for the 30 to 40 something guy.

Mechanical Difficulties
This is one of the easiest difficulties to fix since it has to do with the glasses themselves, not so much optician or clinician error. The glasses are either to tight or too loose and they can be adjusted to fit the person’s face. What about contact lenses users? There are solutions for them—literally. If a contact lenses user can’t tolerate one solution brand, recommend another.

Mr./Ms. Crank
This person has an opinion about everything and it is always negative. All doctors are in it for the money. The optician left a smudge on his or her glasses. The receptionist didn’t explain the form correctly. And on and on goes the litany of complaints. So how do you silence this person without violating the Hippocratic Oath? Simple, you thank him or her for bringing these issues to your attention. After thanking the person, state that you will look into his or her concerns and do just that. Let optician know that the patient complained about dirty glasses and to make sure that the cleansing clothes are clean. Remind the receptionist to speak slowly and clearly when explaining the forms to patients. Then get back to the person and let him or her know that you spoke to your staff about the issues that were brought up.

What if these actions don’t reduce the number of complaints? Chances are that the customer will leave despite your work to make things right. Don’t feel too bad. Any customer who grips that much will try the patience of any business owner, let alone eye doctor. You and your staff don’t need to deal with that kind of negative energy.


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