The last two weeks we have tied in two of the most advanced trust building patient engagement concepts that nearly every practice completely ignores or leaves up to chance by sheer negligence.
This is a big mistake. Leaving either one of these core trust concepts out or dealing with it accidentally instead of deliberately will lead you to suffer the consequences of it throughout every clinical day. Even if, and perhaps especially, you don’t know it.
If you didn’t study in great detail the art and strategy of solidifying your explanation and expectation structure of every aspect of your patient experience, then you are doing yourselves a giant disservice and you are leaving your success and the health of your patients up to the most unqualified people to make the decision and be in control – the patient.
I often wonder how it can be that someone who studied so long and so hard and has sacrificed so much (YOU) to be a doctor would end up giving away all of the influence and authority by letting the patients dictate their care.
That is why this process of trust building is so important. You will actually secure your patients’ trust in the first place which is the most significant hurdle for them to follow your guidance and listen to what you tell them.
Please make sure you and your team have complete control over the way you explain what it is you do, who you are and why. Be sure that you properly layout and control the what the patient expects to have happen and what you expect out of your patients.
Speaking of expectations… One of the most practice-altering expectations YOU can have as Doctor and Owner of your practice is that the value of your practice is NOT in the dentistry, the treatment, the equipment or really anything else in the practice – the value of your practice is in YOUR PATIENTS.
This sounds so obvious but most practices miss it by their lack of creating an experience (what we are going to talk about next) that cultivates value from your patients by establishing and nurturing a REAL relationship with them.
Your patients commitment and loyalty to you will make it infinitely easier for you to grow your practice PROFITABLY through leverage and working smarter – even working less and making more. All of which is really determined by the ONE thing that EVERYONE else is afraid of telling you: you don’t need a lot of patients if in fact you actually KEEP the ones you get.
This is the topic of my newest and most substantial book… the GOLD MINE that exists inside of your practice. If you know how to properly cultivate and retain your patients, you will get more from less and have the opportunity to increase your profit without raising your overhead (or signing up for any or more insurance plans) all by using the strategies I go into depth about in my book.
So, the next step in connecting the trust link together is…
Part 3 is THE EXPERIENCE.
Probably the most haphazard part of every practice which is also the biggest turn off to every patient and what sets the tone for exactly what you don’t want it to be…
There is nothing that says “typical” than sitting in a reception area, signing in, name being called, going back, feeling uninformed, sensing the rushing and then an hour or two later spit out the other end.
On the other hand, the overall Experience can and should be your greatest differentiator; especially for new patients but ideally for every patient.
And there are no magic fixes and secret codes to this. Every practice is different in layout, flow, logistics, culture, personalities and philosophies.
The key to the experience is to have it defined, well laid out and set up to facilitate trust. You do that most importantly by having the experience match what was said and having what was said match the experience.
The congruence and transparency of it all is what breeds the strongest and fastest trust. You simply can’t make assumptions that the patient knows anything.
There are obvious keys to the Experience… be friendly, smile, focus, listen, engage and make eye contact. As well as…
Personalized: use the patient’s name. So simple, so easy and so important. Nothing says ‘personal’ more than knowing their names and saying it.
Timely: the worst part of running late is not acknowledging it and pretending like you aren’t. Anything unsaid is as if you don’t respect someone else’s time.
Consistent: each team member involved knows what the other team member did and knows the patient (refer and study the recent Monday Huddles series).
There are many nuances that can be incorporated to the Experience for any type of patient and any category of visit. The main thing to know is that you must focus on both sides of the experience; what you do and what you do not do. Often the things left undone are the things noticed (dirty bathrooms, being late, not being greeted, not covering details, etc).
Here’s what I want you to do this week: assess your experience from the eyes of the patient and skip the clinical part (we’ll save that, as it’s an entire discussion by itself), and critique every team member and every step. See where you could improve the trust factors and then we’ll tie this together next week with the most powerful CLINICAL TRUST FACTOR of them all – Education.
Don’t forget my new book is available right now this moment and not for long. You want this book; it will give you the greatest leverage for achieving a highly profitable practice by working smarter not harder.