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How to deal with an angry patient

Dr Adam on how to deal with an angry clientHave you ever had an angry patient after Botox or Dermal Filler treatment? Are you wondering how best to deal with the situation?

In a recent Aesthetics Mastery podcast by SkinViva Training, Dr Adam discussed the topic of how handle an angry patient in their Consultation Hack of the Week, a regular feature of the show.

As well as being a SkinViva Trainer, Dr Adam also works as an aesthetic practitioner in Manchester at the Skinviva clinic (as do all our clinicians), so can pass his first-hand experience on how to deal with an angry client.


Dr Adam explains:

This can be applied to anyone in the medical field – nurses, doctors, physios, dentists. We all deal with angry patients at some point.

I find, when someone is angry or cross, we need to acknowledge their anger and emotion. But what we shouldn’t do, particularly if we’re not in the wrong, is to say, “I’m sorry”.

Such as, “I’m sorry the Botox hasn’t worked.”


What should you say to an angry client?

How to handle an angry clientIf you do have an upset and angry client, what you can say is, “I can see that you’re unhappy and I’m sorry you feel that way.”

By doing that, it validates the emotion for the client. And for the majority, I have found it defuses some of that pent-up anger in the patient quite easily.

I’ve often had clients who’ve been cross with everyone they’ve spoke to, right up until the point they’ve seen me. I’ve dealt with that, validated their emotions and really empathised with it. And suddenly, their mood changes around and I will often get the response, “You’re the first person that has really listened to me and is taking me seriously.”

I think it’s important to do that, to diffuse the situation, prevent a complaint and to ultimately, change their state of mind to keep them as a client.


TIP: Repeating the exact words they’ve used is key. Until you’ve done that, the client won’t feel you’ve really listened. Yet as soon as you repeat their words, they’ll be instantly reassured that you’ve listened to what they’ve just said.  


Why does this method work for angry patients?

By seeing their problem from their point of view, you gain so much trust that you then get to influence their point of view. Until they believe you’ve seen it from their side, you cannot influence what they feel.

This is a great, simple technique that also makes you feel good.

And yes, sometimes it does feel a bit ‘ninja’, because all you’ve done is agree with them about how they felt, not the actual cause of it!


Clinical Director, Dr Timothy Pearce, adds…

I’ve recently spoken about something similar with my GP friends, we often find that when you’re talking to someone about a sore throat, when you’re trying to find out the symptoms so you can make the diagnosis, they keep telling you anecdotes of how the symptoms are effecting them. And it’s that emotional message they’re trying to get across.

Which is, it’s not just the fact it’s a sore throat, it’s the fact that I can’t sleep and I can’t talk etc. Whereas if you acknowledge them, you can get to the facts to start the diagnosis. But it’s that emotional acknowledgement.


aesthetics mastery podcastListen to the full episode of the Aethetics Mastery podcast on Dr Tim’s recent emergency reversal following impending necrosis that features this Consultation Hack along with a Pearl of the Week around injecting cheeks.

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