The next step in the creation of trust happens to be one of the most important things that you can establish, talk about and create in patients’ minds that helps both them and you equally.
I do talk about this a lot when it comes to the clinical patient experience. However, it doesn’t stop there and quite frankly no one – nope, not even you – takes it as far as it really should go.
There is a secret nuance that comes close to actually being so powerful and so influential that it nears on the side of mind control in the absolute healthiest way possible.
I’m known for saying the only difference between manipulation and influence is the intention you have – meaning that influence is for someone’s positive and best interests and manipulate is serving your own interest without considering the impact on someone else.
You must decide and commit to the idea of influencing your patients into making the best decisions for themselves. It is your core responsibility.
Not to inform and let the patient decide.
Not to diagnose and leave it up to chance.
You must seek to influence your patients. That is why you are called the doctor. This is what your experiences should be about. If not, you are just items on a menu and a complete commodity.
On the other hand, if you actually set out to elevate your patients’ desire for better health and in this way serve them for the long run not just the short term, you will be developing a rock-solid relationship that will serve you and them far beyond just a few thousand dollars of treatment.
This to me is the key difference between the best practices and those that just get by. You have a bigger picture in mind and also see the best interest of your patients as your responsibility to help them proceed, not just tell them what it is.
I utter this mantra to you again and again: you only help the patients who say yes. So if your goal is just to inform and not to influence, you are not going to help very many people.
All of this to say the greatest way to garner trust is through proper EXPECTATIONS.
Expectations are everything, because you have the ability to help the patient see into the future and actually think, feel, experience the things that are going to happen. That way, when they actually do, it is not the first time and therefore you will have accelerated trust.
It’s not enough just to tell the patients what the expectations are. You want to help them create and set their own so that you are NOT (like last week) leaving any part of this up to the patients’ assumptions or imagination.
Now, the real masters of this will go beyond just giving the expectations (such as optimal health and getting beyond emergency dentistry to proactive care; and moving away from fixing problems to designing a smile).
Whatever you believe in (your clinical philosophy and the outcome objectives you have for your patients), is what you must build backwards into expectations.
This goes as far as actually telling the patients that ‘on this visit you will be making an investment in your health’ or ‘at the treatment conference we will be taking payment and scheduling your procedures.’
I mean so many things go unsaid and then the patients use every excuse to avoid making a decision because they are just now thinking about this instead of having already been briefed on it.
Okay, so the power in this is your ability to actually tell your patients the answers of what they should expect as the outcome and what they will want to be thinking about. You can often be direct, candid and specific but also very often subliminally planting the ideas (what I call the answers), of what you want the patients to do at the end of their experience.
This is one of the most dramatic keys to comprehensive case acceptance. Being transparent with explanations and expectation so that the patient was informed and aware and now can be influenced. The less proactive and upfront you are about information, the further you delay your ability to influence.
This begins only after you have initiated trust. Which leads us to how to create an EXPERIENCE that facilitates trust from your patients so they will be compelled to say yes to each and every part of your process. That goes all the way up until they will be faced with the ultimate test of your ability to garner and grow their trust in you: their investment in your relationship.
This week, think through all the ways you can better control, create and even receive patient commitments on the expectations of each stage in your process.
The first visit. Preparation. Being on time. The clinical exam. What will happen. Why it will happen. Their role in the relationship. What they should be aware of and be ready to do.
You can be confident in this: most practices have no form of expectations whatsoever. They just run the patient through the experience, the visit, the diagnostic process and the payment discussion – all completely blind. The only thing they know is that they don’t know what is going on inside of the patients’ minds because they take no control or responsibility over properly influencing them.
There is a fine line that connects explanation to expectation and that is through the management and the choreography of the Experience. Our next step in this most significant process… we’ll go there next week.