I have a very high tolerance for people’s quirks and I have a great deal of patience. However, neither of those served me well in my recent dentist-patient relationship. I put up with more than I should have.
The experience taught me a few good lessons though. I’ll list them below. The funny part is these are best practices that I’ve read a hundred times in industry literature about how to foster good relationships. But, I see them all differently now that I’m the client/customer/patient.
#1 You must build trust with the client.
No matter what you suggest or how much knowledge you have, your client won’t trust you if they don’t know your motivation. It’s foundational and essential to build trust in order to set the stage for the rest of the relationship.
#2 You must accurately assess their current situation.
Not looking at an entire situation or not having all the needed facts makes its impossible to make the best recommendation for treatment. Make sure you fully understand the current status quo.
#3 You must hear out their previous experiences with this kind of work.
It’s essential to understand a client’s past history and what they’re expectations are. It’s so important to listen to the client and really understand we’re they’ve struggled in the past and we’re their challenges have been. It impacts what you will decide to do and what personal approach you will take with the client.
#4 You must consider what they really want and where they’d like to be next.
Listen for what the client is really saying. What is the goal they are really trying to accomplish? What is their greatest concern regarding your treatment or service? You need to hear what they want and be willing and able to deliver – within reason.
#5 You must keep the lines of communication open.
If the client, doesn’t feel like they can tell you how they really feel, you’ll miss out on important information you need to know (see #2). You’ll miss crucial details that effect the course of action you can take.
It’s kind of lame that I had to learn what’s necessary by realizing what was lacking. Nevertheless, I’m thankful for my poor customer service experience, if it helped me understand how much these “truths” really matter.