How to Get Patient Feedback for Your Dental Practice
There are many types of patients in the world. They range from enthusiastic go-getters that are eagerly awaiting your confirmation that they are cavity-free, to the slightly more apprehensive. Regardless of their disposition, understanding what your patients think of you and your team’s work is incredibly important. Understanding if someone enjoys, or even loves the work you do can give you insight into the likelihood that they’ll recommend your services. When it comes to word of mouth as a way to sell your business, there are few tools more powerful.
Beyond the value of knowing who is likely to spread your gospel, gathering feedback in a constructive or meaningful way will also give you insight into where you can improve across the care experience. People in general can be a little reluctant to provide feedback face-to-face, but when asked to do so, most people are happy to talk about their experience.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the ways feedback could help your business!
Take It Online
There was a time when many companies would reliably keep a pad of paper in front of a suggestion box. Now, reviews and feedback online make and break businesses. As more resources and integrations make their way onto practice management software platforms, feedback services are being made available through automated email. Heart to heart conversations with patients about their experience is always a wonderful way to connect, but if you’re looking for honesty, requesting feedback in an email after their appointment is the way to go.
This route is especially pragmatic because of the variability you can offer. If you believe in a 5-star rating over an in-depth survey, many tools can be customized to accommodate. If you receive a glowing online review, you can just as easily celebrate by asking them to post it themselves. As humans search for social proof online, more and more potential patients are looking for reviews that can paint a picture of what’s in store while in the market for a new dentist.
Getting to the Heart of Your Questions
When it comes time to establish surveys or feedback, there are several ways to solicit a response. Whether it’s asking questions about how they were treated or a simple yes/no to meeting their expectations, the complexity of your questionnaire can have a deep impact on the quality, and quantity, of your results. There are two schools of thought on the matter: While open-ended questions often feel like the best way to bring out people’s opinions, shorter surveys get you more responses, especially when you advertise them.
Simply asking if a patient would recommend you to a friend or family member is often all you need, with the option to explain the answer. This is commonly referred to as NPS, or Net Promoter Score. The other approach is to ask for specific feedback based on how they enjoyed their experience with their hygienist or other care provider. Although this can provide more insight into how your patients perceive the process, these surveys require significantly more tailoring and customization based on services provided. Either way, there is no wrong answer, just what you’re looking to learn about your own practice.
When Every Time is Not the Right Every Time
It is obvious that every patient is different, but what is worth remembering is that every patient’s schedule is different, too. If you’re ready to gather feedback and hear what people think, asking them after every appointment can become bothersome. When courting feedback from your loyal clientele, think about how often you’re asking for their opinion, especially if they’re trying to get the most out of their insurance or coverage the week before a new year.
Finding a way to randomize, or at the very least set maximum survey frequencies, will keep people feeling like you value their opinion and that they’re not just on the receiving end of a mailing list.
Feedback won’t always be what you want to hear, but receiving it is a great way to find areas of improvement and build on an already successful office. When you solicit people’s experience directly they’re often happy to provide it. And, if you can get that glowing review online, your business is all the better for it!