Without a foundation of patient trust, it’s very hard for you to succeed as a dentist. When you build trust with your patients, you get more acceptance, more referrals, and a growing practice. Hence, if you want to build long term connections with your patients, the people who rely on you to treat their oral problems, you need them to trust you.
Here are the top tips that will help you build trust with your patients.
1. You never get a second chance to create the first impression
First impressions can make or break anything. And you only get one chance to create that first impression that makes your patients trust you. To create the first impression, you need to:
– Be authoritative: All of us are trained from an early age to trust and respect authorities. To give that impression of authority, think about what you and your staff wears. When the patient sees you in a professional uniform, that’s when you demonstrate a sense of authority.
– Show credentials: Credentials demonstrate authority. Make sure your patient can clearly see yours when they walk in.
– Make a good introduction: A 30 second personal introduction with a new patient can go a long way in building trust with your patients. It doesn’t take a lot to come out to the waiting room and meet the new patient and introduce yourself.
2. It is healthcare, not health-sell
You don’t need to ‘sell’ to your patients. It’s a false assumption that any healthcare professional has to be in sales. In fact, the experience of being sold to can feel negative and manipulative for both dentists and patients. Sales strategies not only reduce trust between dentist and patient, but has also been proven to result in mis-selling accusations. Read this article on more mistakes dentists must avoid that can affect their career.
So, instead of adopting a selling technique, try to build trust with your patients. To do this, you have to address their fears, concerns, needs and desires.
A preclinical interview really helps with that. To really understand what your patients want and desire, you need to ask them questions and genuinely talk to them. Get to know what their goals are in the preclinical interview. When you understand their needs and desires, you can more easily make sure their needs are met.
3. Demonstrate why you need to do what you need to do
Instead of telling your patients that they need to schedule an appointment to get their cavities filled, first demonstrate and explain to them the problem. Use digital imaging system, x-rays, and models to explain the problem. After explaining the diagnosis, explain what will happen if they don’t treat the problem. Then follows the treatment plan. When explaining the treatment procedure, let the patient know that you understand their concerns about time and cost and that they can schedule an appointment whenever they’re ready.
4. Good communication is the clear winner
You not only need to talk to your patients and communicate well with them but you also need to train your staff to develop a good communication system within the office. When the patient walks in and the receptionist asks “what brings you here?”, make sure they are listening to the patient and communicating everything to the other staff in the office. With this strategy, when the patient sits in the dental chair the hygienist doesn’t ask the same question again and he or she already knows why the patient is here. And finally, everything is communicated back to the dentist.
5. Be consistent with everything
Consistency builds trust. If you’re true to your values, communicate well with your patients, and are consistent with your behavior, it will ultimately help build trust with your patients. When your patients have a consistently good experience with you, they will recommend you to others. This ultimately makes your practice grow.
6. Get the whole team involved
To build trust with your patients, you need to work together with the whole team. Everyone has to be working to the best of their ability. To ensure consistently good performance, get the whole team involved in continuing education courses and try to make everyone as excited about dentistry as you are. Hence, when a patient walks in and they ask the receptionist about implants, the person should be able to reply with understanding, instead of saying something like “I have no idea about that.”
The above tips will help you build trust with your patients and ultimately make you succeed.