Trust, a simple five letter word with masses of impact – has your practice got it?  Has it really got it?  Or are you simply assuming it’s got it?

I bought a new car last week and I can honestly say it was one of the most stress-free, straight-forward and trusted buying experiences I’ve ever had!  This, in a retail sector that has grown up, matured and responded positively to a public that is now incredibly knowledgeable and focused about what they want, mainly thanks to the internet and the general media/communications explosion of the last 6 years.  Perhaps the bankers could learn from the automotive industry?

Twenty years ago the epitome of mistrust was attributed to: Car salesman, Estate agents and even poor old solicitors [are there any poor old solicitors?].  Banks, the newspapers and even the Government, were considered stalwarts of probity and trust-worthiness

MP’s expenses, the pensions debacle, Fred The Shred, Diamond Bob and dear old Murdoch have put paid to all that.  As a nation, we are angry and mistrusting of our institutions.

Trust is the most potent aspiration for all businesses large and small.  Ask any marketer charged with creating a brand for a business and they will start by asking, “How do we create trust between your brand and your target group?”

A lack of trust creates customer cynicism sometimes resulting in customer aggression and customer dishonesty.  It also creates lower prices as the business owners attempt to combat the loss of trust between the business and the consumer, lowering their profitability.  Maybe we are beginning to see the beginnings of this in dental practice?  Not having trust really costs.

As a professional group, Dentists have been good at building trust.  Unless they really hurt their patients, they are likely to keep them (whatever the standard of clinical care) for 10 or more years.  However, as I said earlier, in 2012, there is less trust about than there used to be!

So, what do you have to do to ensure that you win your patient’s trust every time?  From a new patient’s perspective, it starts a long time before they sit in your dental chair.   When a patient feels unsure, they enter what is known as the “discovery period”. They look for clues.  Every tiny detail they pick up on reinforces or detracts from their trust.

By detail I mean:

  • How easy was it to find the telephone number on the web site?
  • How well did the web site align with my needs?
  • When I booked an appointment, did I feel welcomed?
  • How empathic did the receptionist sound?
  • How easy was it to get an appointment at a time that suited me?
  • How does the external signage look?
  • Is the car park swept?
  • What kind of cars are in the car park?
  • Does the paint work need re doing?
  • Are there any lamps out?
  • When I arrived was I made welcome? Did they know who I was?
  • How clean is the patient lounge?
  • How old are the magazines?
  • Why are there notices everywhere held up by blu-tak?
  • Are there people here like me?
  • Why is the reception playing the radio?
  • Are they gossiping about a patient?


All of these tiny details help build or detract from trust before they even meet the Dentist.  Meeting the Dentist for the first time (should) start with a handshake, a welcome and an introduction to the nurse.  How clean is the surgery and their uniforms? etc etc etc…

I could go on and on but I think you get by now that I’m saying that building and maintaining trust is all about the details. The devil is in the detail.

If you need some help running a “Trust Audit” from coaches you trust, we are very happy to help.
Call me on my direct line, 07860 672727
Or email me on,


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