Why Building Trust with Patients Should be Your #1 Priority
Some may argue the most important thing to a successful medical practice is a single function of the business such as marketing or sales. Others may say technology, innovation, or physician experience. But the #1 element to any successful elective medical practice? Building trust.
Why is building trust so important? Particularly in this industry, a potential client evaluates multiple aspects before deciding to move forward with a procedure:
- Is it safe?
- Will I get the results I want?
- Will I be overcharged?
- Does this physician know what they are doing?
- Am I getting the best care possible?
All of these questions are based on a high amount of uncertainty coupled with a high amount of risk. We can break it down with a simple equation:
High Amount of Uncertainty + High Amount of Risk = A Greater Need for Trust
Helping patients overcome this uncertainty requires building trust through education, reputation, and interactions with your practice.
Trust is the cornerstone for all aspects of your business
Trust affects every part of your business. For example, we all know having the latest technology is important. But do patients really care about the tools and machines you use, and how they work? Not really. They want reassurance they are getting the best care for the best results with minimal downtime.
Similarly, many practices try to compete on price. Yet most patients are actually willing to pay a premium for quality services they can trust. In fact, low-cost surgery can actually damage one’s personal brand and product image.
Trust is critical for long-term growth
It’s no secret patients who have built trust with your practice are the best asset to gaining more business. Data from our most recent Medical Marketing Outlook shows over 50% of booked appointments are due to word of mouth referrals, with about 1/3 of those from patients.
2017 Medical Industry Snapshot
|How did you hear about us?||% of all Booked
|Signage & Billboard||2.26%|
|Event or Health Fair||0.42%|
So, what are the ways your practice can build trust with prospective patients? Implement these principles:
1.) Be Consistent & Transparent
In every aspect of your communication (online, over the phone, or in person) be as transparent as possible. What is written on your website should be what patients hear on the phone, in the initial consult, and what they actually get from the procedure.
Providing information up front sets patient expectations and helps curb uncertainty. Prospective patients will lose trust quickly if practices do not provide them with accurate and timely information, or if a practice does not deliver on their promises.
2.) Develop a ‘Patient-Centric’ Practice Culture
Understanding patients and personalizing their experience is now becoming so critical that modern healthcare businesses are going beyond simply letting the patient’s voice be heard, to developing an organizational structure around fulfilling patient needs.
This comes with ensuring staff prioritizes maximizing the patient experience. Often times, office employees receive technical training, such as learning how the phone system works, how to book an appointment in the computer, etc. What can get lost is the “human” component of being able to effectively address patient concerns and set expectations.
3.) Nail the First Impression
On average, it takes 5-7 seconds for someone to determine if they trust you. Making a great first impression can be broken down in 3 V’s:
- Visual: cleanliness, facial expressions, attire, body language, etc. – 55%
- Vocals: tone of voice and enthusiasm – 38%
- Verbal: actual content and words – 7%
Be well prepared to maximize the 2 critical patient interactions – the initial phone call and the first office visit, to ensure patients feel welcome, informed, and comfortable moving forward with you.
4.) Get Feedback (Even if it’s Not a Formal Review)
As part of the follow-up, ask patients what their experience was like, whether they are satisfied, and what could be done better. Regardless of whether or not they will write a review online, you’ll gain valuable feedback for improvements.
Want to learn more about how you can build trust with patient leads? Check out our webinar on “Building Rapport” where our CEO, Bill Mercier, will walk through key examples of way to build or break trust with actual phone calls from medical practices.
Most practices aren’t aware of ways they are failing to build rapport with potential patients. OptiCall offers a free practice assessment to ensure you’re making the most out of every lead. Contact us to request your assessment.