November 4, 2019

Building a Culture of Trust

Trust is the number one ingredient necessary to build strong relationships with our patients and with our team members. To build a culture of trust you need to be always looking for ways to improve. Culture is "the way we do things around here." When you get your culture right, all else follows.

What is trust?

Trust is the underlying belief in any relationship that the other person has your own best interests at heart. People who trust each other share vulnerabilities and feel confident to question each other, while at the same time, accepting each other as is.

How can we build trust?

The most effective way to build trust is by being trustworthy. Trust is the glue that holds relationships together and is displayed repeatedly by your actions. This includes what you do and do not do. Simple things are key, such as listening to what your patients tell you and then acting on that information, doing what you say you’ll do, and keeping your appointments in a timely fashion. These are the types of things that invite patients to feel safe and cared for in your practice, thereby building their trust in you.

Each time you interact with a person you have a chance to further develop the trust you have for each other. Each patient appointment provides an opportunity for each member of your team to build on the trust the patient has for your practice to take care of his or her oral health needs.

When trust is high, interacting and communicating with others is effortless; when low, it requires a lot of effort. Listening builds trust because it show show much you value the other person. Being heard meets a deep psychological need to be respected as a person.

Eight strategies for building a Culture of Trust:

  1. Ask pertinent questions.
  2. Listen with complete attention.
  3. Exceed expectations.
  4. Be extremely organized and dependable.
  5. Show sincere appreciation.
  6. Partner with your patients to optimize their oral health.
  7. Handle complaints promptly with empathy and honesty.
  8. Return phone calls as soon as possible.

Trust is an Investment

Building trust is not cheap. It is an investment in your practice. This means hiring good people and providing them with ongoing training and going out of your way to meet patient needs. The catch is that these investments pay off handsomely in improved profits and a strong referral base. Remember, word-of-mouth marketing is the best way to attract new patients. When trust is high, patients go out of their way to tell others about your dental practice. Especially with the high volume of social media out there–you want to be sure your patients are raving about you!

Competence and Credibility

Trust is built by showing competence and credibility. Competence is getting the job done right, better than your competitors. It is expressed through knowledge of the patients’ needs, your service and the ability to work with others.Credibility is your character, integrity and honesty. Only say what you really mean and be a person of integrity. Show genuine concern for your patients by hearing what they tell you and providing exceptional care. Focus on the customer and his or her needs.

Test Your Trustworthiness

In order to succeed in business and in life, it is imperative that you be worthy of trust. Answer the questions below to test your level of trustworthiness. You may also want to have your team members answer these questions.

  1. Are you punctual?
  2. Are you a team player?
  3. Are you open to new ideas and forward in your thinking?
  4. Do you do what you say you will?
  5. Are you willing to jump in and help when others are in a jam?
  6. Are you responsible for your workload?
  7. Do you maintain a positive attitude, even when time is scarce?
  8. Are you accountable for any and all mistakes you make?
  9. Do you tell the story exactly as it is while at the same time honouring personal privacy?
  10. Are you devoted to continuing education and competency?

Relationships of mutual trust are essential in order to be productive and successful in life.Best wishes as you continue to build a culture of trust in your practice.

About the Author

CoraMarie Clark, MBA is recognized as a highly effective dental practice strategist. She works with dentists that want to optimize their potential both personally and professionally. Her collaborative approach has helped teams develop dynamic competitive strategies and achieve high impact sustainable results.

If you would like to explore the possibility of having CoraMarie work with your Dental Practice or speak for your Association or Group, contact us today.

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