Sometimes this most obvious patient retention tool is often overlooked; showing through our words and actions that we are glad they are here and are grateful to have them as a client.
When we put people first by establishing rapport, building relationships and a sincere interest in understanding their needs before our own, we create more revenue and profit than any other action. One of the most profound statements ever spoken about health care philosophy was by Patch Adams who said, “You treat a disease, you win or lose. You treat a person you win every time, no matter what the outcome.”
One of the easiest ways we can show our patients that we value them is by paying attention to their needs. This can be done in 3 simple steps:
- Hear what the other person is saying. Although this sounds simple, it requires your complete concentration and attention. How often have we been a victim of trying to speak to someone when we only have their partial attention? The person could be checking the computer screen, rifling through notes or carrying out a hoard of other activities, while believing they are actually able to listen to you. Stop what you are doing, make eye contact (if in person) and really tune in to what the person is saying. There are so many distractions which can compete for your attention. Be aware of these distractions and ensure they don’t disrupt your focus.
- Understand what is being said. This stage of the conversation requires you to exercise questioning techniques. By asking open-ended or leading questions, you can maximize your understanding of the other person’s needs. These probing questions allow you to pinpoint the core of the conversation as well as maximize your credibility.
- Demonstrate to the other party your comprehension of their needs. One effective technique is repeating what they have said. This can be done by paraphrasing the other person, to ensure you are both in agreement of what is required. Throughout your conversation, your ability to use these techniques will help to build trust and solidify relationships.