Strengthening relationships with effective communication


Positive conversations can go a long way toward building client trust.

Sometimes, my wife teases me, saying that I’d communicate better if I could read her mind. While I may never become psychic, I do recognize that effective communication goes a long way in both personal and professional relationships.

I regularly provide risk management presentations to local dental societies, conventions and dental schools. One of the topics I cover is the importance of communication. There are lots of benefits to positive interactions, and having conversations with clients makes a difference. Even when you have a full schedule or waiting room, investing a few minutes to talk with each of your patients can improve your business:

  • Clients respond well when you demonstrate genuine, appropriate, personal interest in them. Some patients are uneasy any time they see a doctor. Taking some time to talk with them about their lives, professions, vacations or hobbies may help to relax them. You’ll also improve retention as repeat interactions over time will help to build your relationships.
  • Stronger relationships increase trust. As your clients feel your genuine concern, they’ll be more receptive to your recommendations for treatments and ongoing care. Consider the business relationships you have where you’re the client. Aren’t you more receptive to options when you’re treated with respect and trust the source?

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that the future of your business can benefit from increased communication with your clients. Practice these basics in your interactions to ensure that you’re doing your part:

  • Listen carefully without interrupting.
  • Ask questions if you don’t understand something your client has shared.
  • Respond appropriately, verifying requests to eliminate misunderstandings.
  • Be respectful of your clients’ thoughts, beliefs and concerns.

You can find even more tips for more effective interactions from the NOAA Workforce Management Office. Of course, taking the time to build your communication skills won’t make you psychic, but your increased skills will help your clients feel like your practice offers customer service that is out of this world!

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