The research concludes that consumer skepticism crosses a threshold at three claims and counters the previously held principle, the “set size effect,” which said that the more positive descriptors crammed into a message, the better.
Could we learn from this how to better communicate with patients and influence them more effectively toward case acceptance? We’ve all experienced patients who we’ve spent time with explaining the need for a crown. We think they’ve “got it,” only to hear them later at the front desk asking, “I need a crown?”
This reinforces what we at Pride Institute have been teaching for years – patients need to hear things three times before they sink in. Let’s call this the “believability quotient” or the “magic three.”
1) At diagnosis – Describe the needs to the patient during the initial exam/consultation or the periodic exam.
2) During the debriefing process – Repeat treatment needs and encourage questions.
3) At the handoff to the front desk team member at the front desk – In the presence of the patient, repeat for the third time the treatment needed.
While three times might be perceived as TMI (too much influence) and cause patients to raise their eyebrows with skepticism and think “enough already,” less than the three times might result in patient “amnesia.”
So you are now armed with scientific evidence that the “three-peat” is the perfect dose to assure patients “get it.”
The source of this study is “When Three Charms but Four Alarms: Identifying the Optimal Number of Claims in Persuasion Settings,” by Kurt A. Carlson of Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, and Suzanne B. Shu of the University of California, Los Angeles.
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