Listen, Learn, Grow: How Patient Feedback Can Transform Your Dental Practice

A photo of a dentist

The Importance of Feedback

Patient feedback is a valuable tool for growing a dental business. By listening to and acting on feedback, dental practices can build trust and loyalty, gather valuable data, and improve the patient experience. Did you know that nearly all dental patients consult online reviews before choosing a dentist? And the majority of them even consider these reviews as trustworthy as recommendations from friends.

Reviews can also increase domain authority, which means a higher ranking in response to a Google search by a patient. Popular websites used for reviews include Google, Facebook, Yelp, and testimonials posted on the practice’s website.

That being said, to maintain a strong online reputation, it is essential to develop an effective patient feedback system, that includes soliciting feedback from patients and appropriately responding to both positive and negative feedback. This will help build domain authority and increase the visibility of your practice.

Creating a Feedback System

To begin developing a feedback system, you need to consider a simple, easy, and fast way to get the patient’s response. That means you have to select the most important questions that will help improve your dental practice, and they need to be direct and specific. Some research revealed that 10 percent of mobile users abandon a feedback survey after about seven minutes. Try to adapt your feedback to be that concise.

Make sure your questions are easy to understand: avoid using jargon or technical terms that patients may not be familiar with. Besides, you can use a Likert scale, a series of statements that patients can rate based on their level of agreement. This provides a quantitative measure of patient satisfaction and helps identify areas of improvement. It’s also important to include a few open-ended questions, which allow patients to share their thoughts and experiences in their own words.

After selecting your questions, you need to choose the best strategy to get the responses. Personalized emails or direct mail tend to be more effective for requesting feedback, but you can also ask questions on social media or create a survey on your website. Personalized business cards are also an approach that’s increasing among dentists since you can insert your QR code on the back with a link that will easily direct your patients to the page where they can leave a review.

It may seem overwhelming, but you can always contact a dental or medical counsel to help you with developing these ideas.

Dealing with Negative Feedback

Yes, you have to keep in mind negative feedback might come up, but with the right approach, you can convert them into a positive experience. Responding to negative feedback appropriately is essential, and this can even positively raise the visibility of a practice.

Some of the most common negative feedback for dentists include poor bedside manner, pain or discomfort during treatment, long wait times, poor communication (if the dentist fails to explain procedures or treatment options clearly), billing issues, and unhygienic conditions. It’s important to note that these negative feedbacks can often be prevented or mitigated through effective communication and careful attention to patient needs and comfort.

Once you come across a negative review, don’t panic. You can follow these steps to manage it:

  1. Respond promptly: When patients provide feedback, make sure to respond in a timely and respectful manner. Even if the feedback is negative, take the opportunity to show that you are committed to addressing their concerns and improving your services.
  2. Acknowledge and empathize: Start by acknowledging the patient’s concerns and expressing empathy. Let them know that you understand their frustration and that you’re committed to finding a solution that will make them happy.
  3. Listen actively: Give the patient your full attention and listen actively to their feedback. Make sure you understand the problem and ask follow-up questions to clarify any details.
  4. Apologize sincerely: If you or your staff made a mistake, apologize sincerely and take responsibility for the error. Let the patient know that you’re sorry for any inconvenience or discomfort they may have experienced.
  5. Offer a solution: Once you’ve listened to the patient’s feedback and apologized, offer a solution to their problem. This could include a refund, a discount on future services, or a free follow-up appointment to address their concerns.
  6. Follow up: After you’ve implemented a solution, follow up with the patient to ensure they’re satisfied with the outcome. This will show them that you take their feedback seriously and that you’re committed to providing excellent care.

Remember, negative feedback can be an opportunity to improve your practice and show your patients that you care about their experience. By addressing their concerns and offering a solution, you can turn a negative into a positive and build stronger relationships with your patients.

Consistency Is the Key

Another good strategy to mitigate negative feedback is getting more positive ones. Think about it: The more reviews a dental practice has, the less impact a negative review will have. For instance, having ten reviews, including one negative one, results in only 10% of the reviews being negative.

It is human nature to be affected more by negative reviews, but studies have shown that the absence of online reviews is more likely to dissuade potential patients. So focus on getting more people to recommend your services. Make sure you have new reviews over time. If you keep asking, people will keep responding to it.

If you are not already collecting patient feedback, now is the time to start. By doing so, you can ensure that your dental practice is providing the best care possible and staying ahead of the competition.

About Our Experts

Fazel Mostashari is a dental practice expert whose specialty is financial accounting, tax planning, and practice purchase and set up for the dental industry. For over 10 years, Fazel has been the driving force behind the success of many dental practices.

As a proud husband to a dentist, he understands the unique challenges of running a dental practice. Together, they run a thriving, multi-specialty practice in the sunny city of Woodland Hills, CA.

If you’re looking for expert advice, set up a consultation with Fazel.
Fazel Mostashari: Dental Practice Financial Expert

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