Dos and don'ts for relationship building

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Why making it personal makes sense

For dental practices, touch points with patients have always come easily. There are numerous opportunities for building durable practice-patient relationships. These can serve as a natural defense against patient migration if dentists learn to open up personally to patients in the course of providing professional care.


Give patients reasons to like and identify with you personally. Generally, people prefer dealing with service providers they know and like. When seeing patients, give them glimpses into your personal life -- your hobbies, interests, community connections, and favorite movies or TV shows. As you learn about their interests, think about corresponding aspects of your life. Find common ground you can use in conversation to strengthen the relationship.


Don't worry about seeming unprofessional. Some dentists hesitate to reveal facts about themselves to patients, feeling it is somehow beneath them to do so ... that it will undermine their authority. In truth, there's no danger of this happening as long as you clearly shift from personal exchanges to professional performance. Patients can see you as a likeable and interesting person as well as a highly skilled dentist.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the chairman and CEO of practice management consulting firm Levin Group. You can connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (@Levin_Group) to learn more strategies and share ideas. Also, check out Dr. Levin's free practice management videos at

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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