Selling products and services is easy, but building trust with your patient can be incredibly difficult. It takes a long time to foster trust and it is something that needs to be worked on regularly. The ability to retain your customers is what will drive your clinic to success. Because nothing is better than loyal customers and those who advocate for your clinic. Here are 5 ways you can build trust with your patients.
1. Be Transparent to Build Trust with Your Patients
It is important to have complete transparency in healthcare, whether it be the treatment or billing. What exactly does healthcare transparency mean? The Institute of Medicine defines healthcare transparency as “Making available to the public, in a reliable, and understandable manner, information on the healthcare systems’ quality, efficiency… which includes price and quality data.”
- Information on what services include and what treatment entails
- All information provided should be up-to-date and valid
- Any limitations in treatment or medication should be outlined, including but not limited to, side effects of medication/treatment
- Educating the patient on the issue and providing a plan to resolve it
Transparency in pricing or billing:
- Making prices available to the public
- Provide an itemized bill when the patient requests one
- Providing information on insurances covered and outlining payment to be made
- Pricing information should be made available in an easily understandable format
Transparency instills a sense of trust in the patient. Being able to access information on pricing and treatments makes it easier for the patient to decide on their healthcare plan. Moreover, being able to check the pricing and the insurance allows them to financially plan and be ready. This not only puts your patient in a position to make educated decisions it also allows them a degree of control over their healthcare.
2. Create a Customer-Centric Approach
According to Harvard Business Review, about 14% of marketers claim that their company is customer-centric. And only a measly 11% think that their customer will agree. If a customer-centric approach to business leads to success, why are the above-mentioned statistics so low? Because it is much harder to practice customer-centric business values.
The problem with most companies that preach customer-centric values is that they do just that. Preaching. It is very difficult to align a company’s values with those of the customers. Having customer-centric values involves having empathy at all levels of the business.
What does this mean?
Empathy means that, as a business, you should be able to understand:
- Your customer’s actions
- And the reason behind them
It means that you can understand nuances in your customer base, which will help you in predicting their needs. Having a consumer-centric business means that you aim to provide the best customer experience by building your brand on what the customer expects.
3. Ask for Feedback to Build Trust
Asking customers for feedback is one of the best ways to get their input about the company. Such as what the customers like and what they dislike. It is also the easiest way to see what the customers want or if there are any issues with the product that the product team failed to predict. Feedback, whether positive or negative, can be used to improve the product and the company. Asking customers for feedback is a very daunting task, due to the volume of responses and the quality.
You can start by trying to figure out what you are looking for and why. Having some sort of a baseline setup can help you in the long run. Deciding what you want out of the feedback will help you frame the questions. Without an objective, collecting feedback will not only be hard but will also be pointless.
Once you have an objective, you set about framing your questions. There are two things that you should remember:
- Don’t make the feedback form too long. But don’t keep it so short that you will not be able to glean off anything.
- And keep the questions short enough that the person does not get bored. But not so short that you cannot convey what you are asking.
There are several ways you can get your customer feedback:
- A questionnaire or comment section on your website
- Or attach a link to your newsletters
- Customer interviews
You can use the data that you have collected through surveys to identify areas that you can improve upon and areas that are currently performing well. The feedback form will provide insight into customer needs. Therefore, customer feedback is incredibly important to grow and improve a business or product.
4. Improve Customer Service
Customer service is the support your staff provides to your patient. Most often, your front desk staff will be the first point of contact for your patients. Whether it be over the phone or in person, your staff must be equipped to handle patients and their queries. They will have to understand the customer’s needs and how to provide for those needs.
Some skills that are important for customer services representatives:
- Active listening
- Excellent communication skills
- Easily accessible and prompt
- Good attitude and patience
- High product expertise
- Problem-solving abilities
5. Create a Loyalty Program
There is an important metric that businesses toil over: TLV. The Total Lifetime Value is the total worth of a customer over the entire duration of their relationship with a brand/organization. The longer your customer stays with you, the better your customer retention rates are. The better your retention rates are, the more TLV they will have. The more TLV they have, the more profits you garner.
If you know what your retention rates are like, you can strategies your retention techniques. One of these retention techniques is the loyalty program. The purpose of a loyalty program is to incentivize your customer to stay with your company as long as possible. These incentives can include discounts, premium services at lower prices, rewards, etc. Many companies employ loyalty programs, like Starbucks, Amazon Prime, Apple, and Sephora.
A loyalty program is one of the best ways to increase customer retention. The most popular loyalty system is the point system. Wherein a customer earns points every time they purchase with their loyalty card. After they have accumulated enough points they either get a discount on a premium product or get a freebie.
Other types are:
- Tiered loyalty programs (gold card, platinum card, etc.)
- Value-based programs
- Premium loyalty programs
- Hybrid programs
Loyalty programs drive customers to buy from the same company to get discounts or freebies. Such incentives are a positive driving factor that can get a customer to stay with the company longer.
Learn 15+ powerful ways to drive more patients and positive reviews to your dental practice. Download your free guide today.