Communication – Stages of Awareness

Author: Kathleen Bokrossy, RDHU
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Whether we are communicating with the client in our chair, at the front desk, or through email, we are all competing in a world of distraction. We are not only competing within our industry, but also with friends, family and social media. We are all trying to get someone’s attention for them to take action.

How we communicate will determine how successful the outcome will be.

We first need to understand the 5 Stages of Awareness and determine what stage your client is in in order for them to proceed with the care we are recommending. Otherwise, our recommendations may get lost in the distractions they are facing.

1st Stage: Unaware. Your client is not aware that they have a problem.

2nd Stage: Problem aware. Your client is aware that they have a problem but unaware that there are solutions available to help.

3rd Stage: Solution aware. Your client knows they have a problem and aware that there is a solution but is unsure of which one to choose.

4th Stage: Product aware. Your client is aware that there is a product or service you offer that can help them but they aren’t convinced that your solution is best.

5th Stage: Aware. They know you have a solution to their problem. They understand their problem but haven’t moved forward to making the appointment or the purchase of the product or service (treatment). They are very close but need you to make the offer and book their appointment.

When you go through these stages a couple of things come to mind for me. One is the time gap between our client’s visits.

As an example, we can help our client become aware that they need a crown. They went through the unaware phase, to the aware phase all the way to you informing them of the best treatment option for them. You have shared the outcomes of what they will experience by getting the crown and also what they are potentially preventing (cracked tooth, loss of tooth, etc).

They are close to scheduling the appointment, but something happens along the way and the appointment doesn’t get scheduled. No one follows up with them and 6 months passes. They come back to see you and they look at you and say “Crown? What crown?” and you have to start all over again!

What system do you have in your practice to make sure these things don’t happen?

Can you ensure that something gets scheduled that day, even if to secure a spot for them? Or if they didn’t book an appointment or cancelled, can someone from your practice send them a picture of their tooth that needs the crown and remind them of the outcomes that you have shared?

Does your front team understand that cancelling an appointment shouldn’t be okay? It is much more than cancelling and “no problem we can “just” rebook that when you are ready!”

We see this all the time in practice where we experience the same cycle every time they come in and we are repeating what they need in order to achieve optimal oral health.

Think about the things you can implement in your practice to help close the gap between appointments so that you find yourself in Stage 5 most of the time.

About the Author: Kathleen Bokrossy, RDHU
Kathleen Bokrossy, RDH has been bringing engaging energy to the dental profession for over 30 years. Kathleen is the founder and president of rdhu Inc., publisher for the Dental Hygiene Quarterly and the producer and cast member of The RDH View.  An interactive and popular presenter, Kathleen is a key opinion leader for Curion, Crest+Oral-B, and Ivoclar Vivadent. She is passionate about making change happen and ensures that every program she presents will ignite a spark in the dental hygienist to implement change in their practice!