All good business relationships are built on mutual trust. Say you are looking for a contractor to renovate your home. Would you be more likely to choose a company with a good reputation that you’ve heard of or worked with before or the cheapest company in town with a variety of not-so-great reviews? With a project that important, you’re going to want to choose a company you can trust.
The same can be said about the dental industry. Your oral health is hugely important, so patients need to know they can trust their dentist. The way that any doctor’s office handles feedback is a big indicator of whether or not they truly care about their patients. Here are a few rules for handling feedback in a way that will keep your patients coming back.
Ask for Patient Feedback
Whether you ask for it or not, at some point in your career you will receive feedback on what you could improve on. Instead of resisting, you should welcome any and all opinions, criticisms, commitments, and critiques with open arms! Yes, initially it may not feel good knowing that something about your business is momentarily unsatisfactory, but knowing is half the battle.
Be sure to ask your patients about their experience. Giving them multiple opportunities to share their thoughts will ensure that you have a full-spectrum view of how you and your staff are doing. In-office feedback cards, email surveys, and follow-up phone calls are just a few ways you can gather information about the experiences you’re providing.
Gratitude is Key
Whenever a patient offers insight into your business, you should be openly thankful. Since you’re so close to the business, it can be hard to see what your patients see. The way that patients experience your dental office can be drastically different than the experience you think they’re having.
Patient feedback of any kind is extremely valuable because it’s something you simply can’t conjure up on your own. If a patient comes to you and says, “I had a truly bad experience with your staff, and I don’t think I’ll be coming back,” the first words out of your mouth should be, “I’m terribly sorry about your experience. Thank you so much for telling us.” Always, always say thank you.
Try to Understand
Whenever a patient offers their insight, ask for as much information as you need to understand the situation in full. The more you know about when, why, and how something happened, the more likely you will be able to revise in a productive way. Without a comprehensive understanding of the problem at hand, you may find yourself grasping at straws without actually making any improvements.
Make it Right
The final (and most important step in the feedback process) is to correct the issue. This means do whatever you can to right the situation without being defensive or making excuses (even if they’re valid). Show your patients that their opinions are being heard and their experiences are valid by taking what they say to heart. Your actions regarding patient feedback are one of the best ways to build trust between your business and its patrons. Your patients are what keeps your practice going. Show them that their voices are being heard!
Suggestion for Further Reading: Behind Every Patient Is A Person