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a blog by Chris Barrow

Dealing with abusive patients

I thought this sign (in Starbucks at Stockport Station) was an excellent idea.

We see similar examples in medical facilities and it may well be that you already have something like this on your reception.

There aren't many days when I'm not reading emails that tell me tales of frustrated patients "losing their rag" with FOH and other team members.

Of course, one has to be sympathetic to anyone who cannot get what they reasonably expect they are due or have paid for.

Queueing at airports is never fun, waiting for a train that is rammed full of people and no vacant seats, any line of traffic or people (I suppose they are my equivalents of a dental waiting list).

However, there's the frustration - and there's the way we decide to deal with it.

If I lose my rag, I lose the moral high ground - period.

I've always dealt with angry people the same way:

"Mrs. Smith - I appreciate your concern in this situation, clearly anyone who is waiting a long time for a dental appointment would feel that way.

However, as much as I appreciate your concern, I'm finding the way that you are communicating with me very intimidating.

Was that your intention?"

Nobody - and I mean NOBODY, has the right to intimidate either you or one of your team members - call it out - every time.

Most people will read the sign and behave accordingly (p.s. have a sign) but for those who don't - zero tolerance, in the most stoic way possible.

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