Saturday, November 13, 2010
Too many options?
A quick visit to the pharmacy this week turned into a major problem. Cheryl, my wife, needed some cough drops. Her brand of choice? Ricola. Easy enough, right? Wrong. When I found the display, I was immediately distraught. There were multiple options to choose from: Original, Cherry, Lemon, Honey, Green Tea, Mixed Berry, and then many of the same flavors in sugar free, menthol, and Echinacea. Good grief! I thought this was going to be easy. Not wanting to disappoint Cheryl, I immediately called her to go through all the options: flavor, sugar or sugar free, menthol or not, Echinacea or not. “Forget it,” she said. “Just get me some Dayquil!”
And such is life. Sorting through too many options creates too much stress so we opt for the less stressful route – no decision at all!
Now let’s step back into the dental office. How many treatment options are you giving your patients? One, two, three…five?
In an effort to try and find something that will work for the patient, many make the mistake of presenting too many options. Science has proven that the greater number of options we have to choose from, the less of a chance we have of making any type of decision. It is too confusing. It takes too much effort. It is too stressful. Since we are all susceptible to natural laws, we revert to the natural law that is stronger than choice: The Law of Least Resistance. “Matter tends to take the course of least resistance.” In other words, water flows down hill. We all tend to take the course of least resistance. Rather than sort through the mental process of options and alternatives, we look for the easiest way out…no decision at all.
Take the better path of a clear, recommended direction. Based on what you know about the patient, make a clear recommendation that makes sense to your patient tied to the benefits they are looking for.
The efficient way out for you is to just give the patient a lot of options because you have not done your research. The more effective way is to do your research, find out what matters most to the patient, and then make a solid recommendation that makes the most sense for the patient, their situation, and what they want.
Isn’t that the better option? It’s the only option that makes sense.