Posted by Amy Carbone on Mar 1, 2022 9:00:00 AM
Growing your practice is one of the most important parts of your career as a dentist. Fortunately, you have a number of ways to seek to grow your practice, including by obtaining and utilizing feedback from your patients.
Feedback is crucial, especially at a dental practice. If patients aren't having a good experience, you need to know. You also need to know why, so you can correct the issues and encourage the patients to stay or come back.
Here are a few ways you can start using patient feedback to help your dental practice grow:
Ask for Feedback
Some patients will review or provide feedback regarding your practice whether you ask for it or not, but many may not. Coupled with the fact that patients who have a bad experience are more likely to share their experiences and leave feedback on social media and online review platforms, being proactive with gathering feedback can dramatically improve your patient relationships.
To begin utilizing feedback at your practice, you’ll most likely need to encourage your patients to provide commentary and make it easy for them to do so.
For example, you can create an online Google form and include the link on appointment reminder cards. This “digital suggestion box” allows your patients to provide feedback without having to be in your office and on their own time, and gives them the option of whether or not to include their names. It also can help curb negative online reviews from occurring as you provide a dedicated space for feedback.
Review and Respond to Feedback
If you ask for feedback, you need to be prepared to review and respond appropriately to it.
Not only is it bad practice to let feedback — especially negative feedback — sit for months, but if your patients notice that you don’t pay attention to their commentary and address their notes and concerns, they’re more likely to stop providing it to you.
You can effectively do this by establishing a regular reviewing cycle to make observing and implementing feedback more manageable, especially as your practice grows and becomes busier. You will need to consider how you can respond to feedback in accordance with applicable privacy laws.
How To Review Patient Feedback
Once you've collected feedback and decided on how often you’re going to review it, it's time to take an honest look at it.
While keeping in mind privacy limitations, try to acknowledge the feedback that you receive. It’s crucial that those who provide feedback feel like their comments have been taken into consideration without being promised that their specific feedback will be implemented. While they may have given you great feedback, it might not be realistic to implement it at the time.
Remember, though, that however you choose to respond you must keep in mind HIPAA regulations and other privacy laws.
While you may want to read through and respond to everything that people have said, it’s unnecessary to implement all of it. Some feedback can go on the back burner or even be discarded. Unconstructive feedback, such as personal attacks, name-calling, profanity, or sincere efforts to tear you down, can usually be politely responded to depending on the medium and then ignored or disputed if written on a public forum.
It's usually pretty easy to tell who's trying to give an honest review of their experience. They may talk about what they liked, didn't like, and provide suggestions for improvement. This constructive feedback should be actively engaged with in a HIPAA-compliant manner and taken into consideration for changes in your business.
Your patients — especially your repeat patients — will notice when their feedback isn’t implemented. This is why it is so important to acknowledge every suggestion. However, you cannot implement all changes at once. So, you need to make sure you prioritize how you implement the important feedback you receive.
It’s important to consider a number of factors, including:
- What can you realistically change in a certain time frame?
- What feedback would help the largest number of patients?
- Which employees have the skillset and time to begin executing the changes?
Once you have a plan, you can begin to incorporate patient commentary and create a more enjoyable environment for both your dental practice staff and patients.
Growing Your Patient List with Patient Feedback
Getting and implementing feedback comes with another benefit: it can help you grow your dental practice’s patient list. This can happen in a number of ways, including by:
- Providing you with positive online reviews and a better rating.
- Showcasing that you truly care about your patients and value what they have to say.
- Creating an improved, welcoming environment that your patients enjoy — and tell their friends and family about.
In addition to utilizing feedback, there are a number of other ways that you can grow your dental practice. Access our e-book today for in-depth information on the best practices for growing your dental patient list and setting your practice up to pursue future success.
Treloar & Heisel, LLC. does not offer legal advice. Please consult a legal professional concerning these topics.