Consistently, studies have shown that patients rate their service satisfaction based on the depth of their emotional connection through personal and proactive communication and rate this as “very important” on the scale of what they expect from a dental practice.
Visiting the dentist can often cause the emotions to run high in anxiety, dread, fear, upset or excitement. Both physical and emotional needs must be met in order to build the level of trust and participation necessary to achieving long-term loyalty, frequency, and longevity of the patient relationship. Connecting with people on an emotional level was probably not part of your dental practice training; however it is crucial to develop these skills to ensure your patients receive the care they need.
The service satisfaction model of exceeding expectations alters their thoughts and feelings from a “been there, done that dental visit” to a “wow” experience.
Exceeding their expectations involves the ability to anticipate their needs and respond before being asked showing confidence, personal interest, compassion, empathy and respect of time and thoroughness of understanding.
PERSONAL: patients expect you to know who they are by name and that you care about them as a person as opposed to a number. Take time to learn about their family, occupation and what they do for fun to connect with them personally before discussing the dentistry and fees.
• Prepare for their visit by reviewing the schedule
• Review their records and gain some background on their family
• Communicate relevant personal information to colleagues.
HUMANE: characterized by kind behavior, mercy, compassion, and consideration for them while inflicting as little pain and discomfort as possible. Support patients by proving a caring attitude to alleviate their fear and anxiety about their clinical status, treatment, and prognosis.
• Participate in community building or philanthropy
• Be mindful when working in their oral health
• Don’t make the first contact with a patient to be about finances
• Don’t argue with the patients—their opinions are valid!!
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