Trust. Hard to gain, easy to lose, and fundamentally one of the most important factors to your private practice’s success.
The question is, how do you ensure you’re always gaining and never losing it?
In this article, we dissect the key points from Phil’s Book club interview with David Horsager, (author of Trusted Leader), and share the 8 pillars of trust that can actionably be implemented into your private practice helping you gain trust and keep it.
Let’s face facts: the hearing care industry has a bit of a trust problem, and it’s certainly not because you and your peers are personally untrustworthy.
Oh no, the industry-wide trust issues stem from more external factors.
Regrettably, the hearing care market has taken a bit of a beating of late, as there is a lot of competition from big box retailers undercutting smaller independents by selling OTC hearing aids at significantly reduced prices. This in turn is making consumers question smaller independents, as, if they can get the same product for cheaper elsewhere, how can they justify charging the extra?
Now, of course your immediate thought might be “but we provide better service”, however, the consumer doesn’t always know that, or even know what the long-term benefits of that really mean for them, so you can easily see why there might be a trust issue there.
But, just to play devil’s advocate for a second, what if the trust issues actually did have something to do with you?
What if your pricing plans aren’t clear, or your ‘life-time service’ promise is flaky – could these be trust issues you’re willing to acknowledge and do something about?
If so, then great, as we’re about to share exactly how you can both identify and change them.
The 8 Pillars Of Trust
The ‘8 pillars of trust’ is a fail-safe formula for gaining and keeping trust within your organisation, and Horsager strongly believes any challenge can be solved by applying one or more of the pillars to it.
Now, although the 8 pillars weren’t specifically designed for hearing care leaders, we can of course contextually apply the principles.
So, what are they?
“People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous or overly complex.”
As a hearing care leader, it’s your job to ensure everyone is clear on what’s expected of them.
Your staff need to know what to do, and your patients need to know what they’ll get for what they’re charged…simple, right?
Ironically, convolution is easily achieved, which means spending time making sure everything is clear and understood is worth everything if, at the end, you gain trust.
Things such as:
- Your messaging on your website – is it clear what you stand for as a practice?
- Your pricing plans – are they justifiable and easy to understand?
- Your service promise – is it totally clear what your patient can expect to receive from you and how they can access it?
Spend time clarifying the complex and you’ll save time trying to convince people to trust you. Fact.
After all, as Horsager says: “If you confuse, you lose.”
“People trust those who care the most.”
In the hearing care world, you know all too well that if you don’t care about your patients, you’re in the wrong job.
But, showing compassion goes beyond just how you are in situ, as you need to be able to show compassion before a patient has even walked through the door, i.e. ensuring your website shows them that you know them.
The biggest mistake hearing care clinics make when writing the copy for their website is talking about themselves, with common offenders being: “we believe this”, or “we’ve achieved that” – it clearly lacks compassion for the person reading it.
Try flipping the script slightly and write from a place of empathy, using phrases like:
“It’s perfectly OK to feel nervous about having your first hearing test, so here’s a run-down of what you can expect from the moment you walk through our door…”
Or even “One of the common reasons why people don’t want to get hearing aids is the fear of looking old, which is perfectly understandable, however, you might be surprised to know that a lot of the hearing aids these days are almost invisible!”
Compassionate copy is by far one of the best ways to create trust before the relationship’s even began.
“We trust those who do what’s right and not just what’s easy.”
In other words, integrity. In other, other words, would you follow you?
Proving you’re experienced and allowing people to peak behind the curtain with videos and images of what it’s like to be a patient is a great way to show your character. Also, showing your contribution to the community, or sharing case studies of people you’ve helped achieve better hearing, are true trust builders.
“We trust those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable.”
If you’re doing things now that you did 10 years ago without any inclination to embrace change, then it’s likely people won’t trust that you’re capable to treat their specific needs as they don’t need to be an audiologist to know that technology is improving all the time.
As a hearing care leader, you could benefit from showing your willingness to learn and keep up to date with latest advancements, whether that’s by attending conferences and sharing a picture of you in situ on your Facebook page or sending a quarterly email reassuring your patients of the ways you’ve improved your service/equipment.
The chances are that the 2020 pandemic was the toughest 2 years of business you ever experienced. But, as you stand now, reading this article about trust, take a second to pat yourself on the back for actually surviving, as the fact you have means that many people are living with better hearing.
Nice perspective really, isn’t it 🙂
And that’s trust gained from the commitment you’ve made to carry on being a hearing care leader.
Thank you for everything you do.
Having a connection with your patients is crucial to building trust with them, however, you’re only human – you can’t have a connection with everyone.
So, what does Horsager mean by this?
He means creating a connection with your wider community. As a medical service provider, you already do great work which you’re trusted to deliver, however to gain even more trust, you could expand beyond your practice walls and share your expertise on how to achieve healthy hearing in schools, care homes, or even businesses.
“We trust those who contribute results.”
This pillar is all about gaining trust through showing you practice what you preach, more specifically in sharing testimonials and case studies.
As a private practice owner, you know that more people are likely to trust you if they can easily access success stories, however, oftentimes this is just limited to directly after the hearing aid purchase, which means there’s a huge chunk of after-service left out!
In that case, it might be worth spending some time creating a system that gathers new testimonials at different stages of your patients’ journey with you, which you can then share at relevant parts of your website, or even via emails for when you send information about their specific care plan points or when the qualify for upgrades.
“Whatever you do regularly, you’ll be trusted to do.”
Read that back to yourself and take a second to check in with how that makes you feel.
If you feel a little off-kilter, there’s a possibility it’s because you know that you’ve perhaps fallen into some bad habits that aren’t serving you well, and at worst, are being picked up by others.
If that’s the case, then now is your chance to identify what the bad habits might be and work to flip the script.
An example of these bad habits could be the inconsistency of what you charge your patients for.
Almost everyone who works in hearing care is incredibly nice and doesn’t want to charge for “little” things as they feel bad for charging for a bit of help, however, there’s no structure to this method, and what you may give out for free one day, you might charge the next – now imagine if the person who was charged caught wind of that? Immediate trust crusher.
The best way to combat this is by having a very clear pricing plan strategy, which is clearly visible (on your website and within your practice), so there’s absolutely no ambiguity among staff and patients.
Doing the right things regularly is, granted, a long-game strategy for winning trust, however, once established, is ever so powerful in how people perceive your competency.
After all, as Horsager says, “Atrophy is guaranteed unless you do the right things consistently.”
Trust, as we know, is a business fundamental from all angles.
If you’re someone who values trust in your private practice, then these 8 pillars will come as both a relief and a revelation for you, as no doubt you’re already implementing some, whilst hopefully feeling enthused to implement others.
One More Thing…
If you’d like to discuss how you can implement these pillars of trust within your practice, or you’d just like some guidance on where you could be putting your marketing efforts, then you’re welcome to schedule a complementary strategy session with private practice marketing strategist, Oli Luke.