Newsletter | 4 Key Components for Patient Retention & Referrals

December 10, 2018by Lisa Philip

Helpful Tips to exceed your patient’s expectations


Connecting with your patient is crucial to patient satisfaction. In fact, the most successful internal marketing plan should be primarily focused on a sincere concern for your patient’s experience while they are in your practice.

EMPATHY:  The ability to listen without judgment, to identify with and understand another’s feelings, situation and motivesTo view care experiences through the eyes of the patient and their families. When we do so, empathy transforms “I” or “you” to “we.”


  • Ask open-ended questions and get patients talking about themselves
  • Don’t interrupt when they are telling their story
  • Reply back what you think you heard to show understanding
  • Respond to non-verbal facial expressions
  • Pay attention to body-language cues exhibiting frustration

HONESTY:  To be forthright with the patient, clear communication and education that is relevant to their clinical status, diagnosis and the options for their treatment plan. Facilitate autonomy, self-care and health promotion.


  • Explain the information in simple terms and check that they understand
  • Clarify their oral health status; disease present and maintenance required
  • Don’t leave anything out on their diagnosis and ideal treatment options
  • Present the fees prior to treatment and stick to them 

RESPECT:  For patient’s views, preferences, expressed needs, quality of life, their involvement in decision making, dignity and autonomy.

THOROUGHNESS:  Attentive to accuracy and details and executed exams without omissions or shortcuts. The time spent often reflects how thorough the providers are with meticulous documentation.


  • Involve the patient in the collection of data during examinations and invite them to follow.
  • Use the intraoral camera so they can see and own what is occurring.
  • The efficiency of the hygiene exam and how the hygienist prompts the doctor in a recall exam shows a professional transfer to the dentist while the patient is listening.

The best way to determine if the patient is satisfied with the service is to survey them about their satisfaction and measure and evaluate service performance to continuously refine offerings.  Patients will say yes more often and be more willing to refer if they receive personalized care from empathetic providers and a team who are emotionally connected to a patients’ concerns.

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Lisa Philip