Building trust with your patients

Trust n.
1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.

Patients cannot really judge the quality of your dental skills. They can only make judgements on how they are made to feel when coming into contact with your dental practice. Most of this interaction will occur before they even sit in your dental chair for instance, making an enquiry via your website or calling the practice and speaking to the reception.

In this blog we discuss what elements are involved in building trust - the foundation and linchpin for building long-term relationships with your patients.

Be honest

Do not ‘stretch’ the truth or claim that your treatments will perform miracles if they won’t – you will lose all credibility. If you back up what you say with the truth, your patients will learn to trust you implicitly.

Be predictable

Some people think that being predictable equates to being boring but in the case of earning trust predictability can go very far in building the trust of your patients. Build the solid foundations of trust and then you are more likely to ‘wow’ your patients.

Know what you’re talking about

Patients want to be able to trust that you know what you’re talking about, particularly in the field of dental care. If the information that you tell them turns out to be wrong, you’ve created a doubt in their mind about how trustworthy you are. If you create just a few doubts in a patient’s mind; you could well lose the chance of ever gaining their trust.

Give the right advice

Patients want to be able to trust the advice and recommendations that you give them. This could mean directing them elsewhere if your services do not match their requirements.

Nothing will destroy your credibility and the patient’s trust faster than if they believe you are giving false or prejudiced, self-serving advice or recommendations.

It takes a great deal of integrity which is the core of establishing a relationship built on trust and respect. Once the patient knows that you are willing to sacrifice an immediate sale for the sake of maintaining your integrity, your reputation with that patient is sealed. They may not purchase from you now, but they will come back because they know that you will lead them in the right direction. They will also be more inclined to refer you to their friends of family because trust has been established.

Know your patients expectations

Crucial in creating a strong, trusting relationship with your patient is meeting their expectations and priorities.

In order to be able to meet and exceed a client’s expectations you need to know what those expectations are! You can’t assume that all your patients have exactly the same expectations – patients will have differing and varying priorities. Ask each and every patient exactly what their expectations are to ensure that you are able to meet and hopefully exceed them. Listening is the most important part of the communication process.

Do what you say you’re going to do

Do what you say you’re going to do exactly when you say you are going to do it.

Our performance and integrity is judged on what we say and what we do. How closely our actions parallel our words will determine our ability to gain the trust and respect of patients. This interaction of words and deeds is more important than anything else – it trumps price, competence and personality.

Demonstrate professionalism in all that you do and show your patients that you are trustworthy. This will ensure that their loyalty is maintained and they continue to keep coming back again and again.