By Compassionate Finance on Feb 6, 2018 8:25:00 AM
Setting your practice on a path for growth doesn’t happen overnight, but the critical factor will always be the health of your patient relationships. First impressions matter, but so do the second, third and fourth ones.
Your patients take notice when you’re genuinely listening and taking note of their concerns, which builds trust as a result.
Remember, it’s not the number of new patients that makes the difference for growth. Instead, it’s your current patients saying “yes” to recommended treatments rather than walking away from those procedures at the final hour.
Patients can be anxious because of costs and the perception that they can’t afford the care they need. Building rapport can help alleviate that patient anxiety, but the benefits extend further than that.
We list a few reasons why developing your current doctor-patient relationships can help you set your practice on a positive course.
Trusting Patients Are More Likely To Open Up About Private Issues
When you show patients you’re empathetic and willing to take their concerns into consideration, the more likely they are to be honest and share their deeper concerns. Of course, when a patient feels they can share everything with you, you will receive better information to diagnose and recommend treatment.
On top of health-related issues, patients that trust you will also be more likely to share any associated financial concerns regarding procedures or treatments. Though you might need to ask a few questions to get the conversation started, you will have a better idea of what measures should be taken to make the costs of a procedure affordable for any patient.
Trusting Patients Are More Likely to Accept Your Treatments and Payment Recommendations
With greater patient trust, you’re gaining better information, but you’re also giving more confidence to the patient that the procedure you recommend will be the best solution for their diagnosis.
Even if anxiety over costs for treatment exists, trusting patients will at least recognize that the recommended treatment will be their most beneficial option going forward and pursue treatment. In some cases, they realize the recommended treatment could shape their lives significantly.
Furthermore, a trusting patient is more likely to trust a payment option that you recommend to make a procedure more affordable. If you were already able to talk about a patient’s finances, even in brief, patients will be more prepared to listen to you as you or your office manager walks them through their potential options.
Trusting Patients Are More Likely to Write Positive Reviews
Peer reviews make a massive difference for your practice and taking them seriously will keep your practice’s marketing at the forefront.
Positive reviews attract new patients, but they also help solidify trust with current patients. Just like foodies searching for the best brunch spots, the same peer review principle applies to patients and practices.
Three to four strong reviews that communicate the value your practice has added to a patient’s life, if used in the correct manner and made visible to prospective patients, could be the difference between a patient choosing your practice over others.
Of course, when you’re doing everything possible to build positive relationships with your patients, they’ll often go out of their way to write a positive review for you. At the very least, they’ll probably go on to write a glowing review if you ask them. And getting reviews is as simple as that, just asking them. If you’ve delighted a patient and you know you’ve given a great experience, you should be asking for reviews and feedback.
If you can build trust with patients before they even meet you, you’ll make it that much faster to solidify a relationship.
Improving How You Engage Patients Is an Ongoing Process
No matter how experienced you are, you can always improve how you engage and empathize with patients. Even simple steps like introductions, sitting down with patients and walking through your process for helping go a long way towards making them feel more comfortable. Though they might seem like simple gestures, they’re easy to skip if you’re not consistently diligent.
By keeping empathy and relationships at the forefront, patients will be more capable of putting their cost anxiety behind them and realize that they can move forward with an affordable treatment.