Have your bookings slowed down a little lately?
Are you seeking some inspiration on how you can recharge the energy in your business and improve client engagement? We hear you!
Studies in Biopsychosocial communication now reveal the new approach that will help you improve trust and create more effective and strong relationships with your clients.
With everything that has changed since the pandemic.
Consumers have had more time to conduct their own research and therefore have become more opinionated about the value of services they pursue.
We know that effective communication is essential in providing quality care and thus preventing confusion, misunderstandings, complaints and litigation.
It is not only communication between you and the client but also with everyone and everything that is happening in your clinic.
If communication between all clinic areas is effective, many issues are pre-empted and strategies to manage client concerns implemented. The concern is that almost everyone thinks their communication is compelling, which is not always true.
More than anything else, communication is the most vital part of the client’s experience.
Communication goes much further than what you say to clients it is:
- Your manner
- Your inflection
- Your tone.
- Then there is your body language
Have you evaluated your professional space with a very critical eye to determine the message it communicates?
You see it every day, but the first-time client may see your business differently. How professional does it look?
Are the sheets or towels on the bed even on both sides? Does anything look like it remotely was left over from the last client?
The client generally does not have the skills to determine your technical competency, so they will make instant decisions on how the clinic and staff look and act.
Our communication should contribute on so many levels toward building mutual respect and assist the clinic and the practitioner to achieve open, honest and transparent communication.
Such communication levels will go far in building trust and even in dealing with and resolving the situation if something goes wrong.
The biopsychosocial model for client communication
George Engel (1977) first constructed the biopsychosocial model being a philosophy of clinical care and a guide for clinical practice. This requires an understanding of a person’s clinical condition on three different levels, not simply the biological factors.
- Biological (physiological and pathology)
- Psychological (thoughts, emotions and behaviours such as psychological distress, fear/avoidance beliefs, current coping methods and attribution)
- Social (socio-economical, socio-environmental, and cultural factors such as work issues, family circumstances and benefits/economics)
Each of these factors affects a patient’s subjective experience, clinical outcomes, and effective treatment throughout the treatment process.
Such an approach is very different from the biomedical model, which considers the client to be a passive recipient of their treatment and a victim of circumstance with no accountability for their condition, giving the client no autonomy in possible treatment decisions decided on by clinician-orientated ‘expert’ opinion.
The role of human behaviour and psychology play in determining our overall health and well-being now has greater understanding and impact in the clinical setting. Treating the condition as a clinical entity is no longer sufficient as this is only the presenting external factor.
A holistic approach to client care is always required.
Although healthcare practitioners acknowledge that clients should be more participative to ensure they are informed about their care, studies alert to several communication barriers that may exist.
Here are some considerations:
- Practitioners may feel they lack enough time to listen, explain and negotiate with the client. Sometimes clients cannot fully articulate their initial concerns before being interrupted by the practitioner. It takes less time for the client to tell their story than getting a sentence out and being interrupted by the practitioner – much easier and quicker to shut up and listen.
- Negotiating evidence-based treatment plans with clients can be time-consuming yet valuable. Used without the technical details and statistics as a guide aligning with the client’s goals, values, and preferences.
- The practitioner’s attitude can be a barrier to effective client-centred communication.
As a practitioner, we want to deliver hands-on care first. Even if we do want to dive in. It’s vital for your clients that you listen first.
Continue to be humble and listen to the client – it will save so much time in the long run.