5 Ways to Elevate the Dental Patient Experience

April 7, 2023

This is a guest article written by Roger P. Levin, DDS, Founder and CEO of Levin Group.

Strong customer service is the key component that helps dentists elevate the patient experience. Many practices believe they provide five-star customer service, but in reality, they may be operating at a “three” or a “four.” Three- or four-star customer service isn’t bad, but it’s not five-star service, which is a relatively rare feat for practices to achieve. However, the practices that do achieve it have a unique advantage and can differentiate themselves from the competition. 

Five-star customer service models make it easier for practices to attract new patients, acquire excellent reviews, increase case acceptance, and create a fun and enjoyable environment. In addition, these practices are able to sustain their success over long periods of time. 

So, what does it take to build a five-star customer service model? Here are essential steps that will help create the foundation for a world-class patient experience.

  1. Add more value to the new patient phone call. 

The new patient phone call is one of the most critical moments in the experience journey. With a value-based new patient phone call, you can increase your chances of motivating the patient to become part of your practice and ultimately inspire them to provide recommendations. 

In many practices, the new patient phone call is strictly procedural. Staff members will obtain insurance information, schedule the patient for their first appointment, explain key protocols and policies, and then get off the phone. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, it does not reflect five-star customer service.

Instead, you can add more value to the new patient phone call by focusing the dialogue around building a relationship. Try to learn something about the patient, share information about the practice, promote the doctor and the office’s excellent care, speak to team members’ kindness and explain how you take care of patients.

  1. Set a positive tone during your first meeting. 

Your patient’s first in-office experience provides a golden opportunity to make a five-star impression. The way in which you greet your new patients should differ from how you greet more established patients. During your morning staff meeting, set a recurring agenda item to identify new patients coming in on a given day. Once you have identified these patients, encourage your staff to greet them with enthusiasm and a statement that you have been looking forward to meeting them. Staff should also go out of their way to offer assistance on new patient requirements like filling out paperwork and ensuring they receive treatment on time. 

Next, there should be a handoff between the front-desk staff and the assistant who escorts patients back to the clinical area, plus a second handoff between the assistant and the dentist when the dentist arrives in the room. Every moment of the new patient experience should be mapped out to provide warm, comfortable interactions that are structured around getting to know the patient personally. 

  1. Make a powerful sendoff. 

If you want to ensure a positive ending to all appointments, instruct your front-desk representative to ask new patients the same question: “How was your visit today?” The representative should actively listen to the patient’s answer — and if the patient’s experience wasn’t fantastic, they should try to understand why. 

Here is another sample script for your sendoff: 

“Mrs. Jones, it was wonderful to see you today. We are delighted that you selected our office for your dental care. If there’s anything that I can do for you, please feel free to let me know. We look forward to your next visit.” 

This type of scripting is far more powerful than standard sendoffs like “goodbye” or “see you next time.”

  1. Create a positive office culture.

If everyone on your team displays a positive attitude every day, engages in positive teamwork, and treats patients with positive respect and language, then your patients will feel and be impacted by the energy, enthusiasm and excitement of your office. Positive office culture starts with the leader — happy doctors create happy team members, which leads to happy patients. 

After reviewing top 10%-producing practices for over 30 years, I have found that the common denominator among all of them is a positive, energized environment. The best part is that this environment also translates into a better work experience for both the doctor and the team.

  1. Improve patient communication. 

One of the most effective ways to elevate patient communication is by utilizing email. A best-practice strategy that some dentists use is the 30-day email communication campaign, in which they distribute a one-page email to patients every 30 days providing important practice updates — such as information about new services, technologies, dental insurance, and their doctor and team. Not only will regular communication updates keep patients apprised of important details, but they will also help patients feel like they belong in your office and confident in your care.

The bottom line

The reality is that customer service is a system just like scheduling, case presentation, clinical workflow, managing patients, making financial arrangements and reducing no-shows. The more you focus on creating and elevating the patient experience, the more you’ll increase referrals, positive reviews and case acceptance. When patients start commenting about how upbeat the office is, you will know you’ve cracked the code.


Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the US and around the world.

To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit levingroup.com or email rlevin@levingroup.com