Chances are, you commonly request patient feedback about your dental practice. However, if you’re like most dentists, you rarely do anything with the advice given.
The thing is, failing to evaluate the feedback you receive as a dentist and grant reasonable requests sends a message of indifference that won’t keep your waiting room full. Keep reading to learn what you have to gain by using patient comments to make positive changes.
When you analyze patient comments, you’re able to recognize patterns that need your attention. Common patient complaints — such as unpleasant staff, problems scheduling an appointment, and difficulty or delays getting medical records — can cause people not to return to your practice.
Dentists who fail to provide a positive patient experience can face serious consequences. More than half of Americans have decided not to go through with a planned purchase or transaction due to bad customer service, according to American Express. Furthermore, 33 percent said they would consider switching companies after just one instance of bad customer service.
It’s discouraging for patients to voice their opinion and not feel heard. Requesting patient feedback is nice, but it doesn’t mean much unless you actually do something with it.
Nearly half of Americans (45 percent) claim appreciation for them as a customer is a very important component of providing excellent service, according to American Express. Choosing not to take action on common patient complaints inadvertently sends the message you don’t care.
Using critiques to make meaningful changes is a gesture that goes a long way, so don’t underestimate its value. Make patients confident they chose the right dentist by showing them the appreciation they deserve.
There’s a good chance you send patient satisfaction surveys after every visit. In fact, this is probably where you’re getting most of the feedback about your practice.
If scores aren’t as high as you’d like, the comments you’re receiving essentially guide your path to improvement. Boost your ratings by implementing as many suggestions as possible and resolving any problems that seem to be a widespread issue.
Common complaints noted in patient feedback — surprise bills and long wait times, for example — can cause people to seek care elsewhere. In fact, one in five patients has changed doctors because of long wait times, according to Vitals.
If your retention rates aren’t great, simply listening to your patients and taking their suggestions for improvement can make a world of difference. It doesn’t get much easier than having people tell you exactly what’s causing them not to return.
Reviews are an important part of dental marketing. For consumers to believe a business’s star rating is accurate, it needs to have an average of 40 online reviews, according to BrightLocal. Of course, quantity isn’t everything, as positive reviews make 68 percent of people more likely to patronize a business, while negative reviews are a turnoff to 40 percent of consumers.
If you don’t have the high quality or volume of patient reviews you’d like, acting on comments can make a world of difference. Satisfied patients will be happy to sing your praises, especially when you took the time to rectify a concern they voiced.
The more positive reviews you’re able to generate, the better your dental practice will look to prospective patients. You’ll almost certainly notice an increase in patient volume when you gain a reputation of truly caring about the people you serve.
Patient feedback is only effective when dentists use that feedback to make changes for the better. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by carefully analyzing comments and using them to improve your dental practice.
For more information on the topic of patient feedback, see the blog post “4 ways patient feedback can help improve your practice.”
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