Understanding the patient experience is the foundation for improving your dentistry practice, and growing your business
How well do you know your patients and what they think about your dental practice? The key to attracting more patients and retaining the ones you have is creating a holistic culture of caring. To do that, you need to gauge where you’re at in the eyes of your patients-of-record first.
Your practice is a business, and your patients are your customers. Customers don’t want to simply buy a product, they want to buy an experience, feel appreciated and uplifted, and know they’re receiving superior oral healthcare.
The best way to understand what they think of your oral health services, your staff, and how and where you can improve or complement your services, is through an annual patient satisfaction survey they can participate in online or by traditional mail.
Why Patient Surveys Are Important
According to statistics from the “Healthy, United States, 2014” report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 61.7% of adults aged 18 to 64 visited a dentist in the preceding 12 months. That leaves a significant portion of the adult population that did not or do not visit a dental office at least once a year. What if some of those people are your patients-of-record?
Not only does conducting annual surveys improve communication between you and your patients, but it demonstrates to them that you are striving to improve your practice and your services.
Asking the right questions and covering relevant topics are critical. Among the most common topics informed dental practices query their patients about, include:
Access to dental care
- The quality of dental care
- The cost of dental care and insurance
- The patient’s appointment experience
- Areas where your practice could improve
Listen to the Voice of Your Customer
There are six ways patient surveys can help any dental practice, including:
- Providing better care. There are significant overall health risks associated with poor oral health that many of your patients may not know. These risks can lead to several diseases and serious health conditions. Educating your patients about these risks and recommended preventative measures is an important part of ensuring you and your team are providing the high quality of oral healthcare your patients expect.
- Improving services. All healthcare services including oral health services should be shaped by what matters most to patients. Asking patients for their opinions on everything from their most recent experience at your office to the oral health-related concerns they have should be your guide for how to improve your practice’s existing services, and to identify any potential shortcomings.
- Identifying new product requirements. How broad are your family dentistry services? Is there a product or service you don’t provide that a good percentage of your patients require? It’s critical for retention to know what oral health procedures your existing patients-of-record would like to see added to your menu of services.
- Address staff training needs. Find out directly from your patients how your frontline staff is performing. Are they delighting your patients every time they visit? Or are they disappointing a significant percentage of them? Do your patients expect more from your staff? If so, it’s an opportunity to identify that your employees need training to take customer service to new heights.
- Increase new patient referrals. An engaged customer base that is overwhelmingly pleased with the care you and your team are providing are more inclined to participate in a patient referral and rewards program you establish, as well as organically by word-of-mouth.
- Strengthen your bottom line. By ensuring your current services are appreciated and in-demand, discovering what additional ones you can include that your patients want, and improving customer service at your practice, you’re more likely to see new patient referrals and regular appointments spike.
Need professional and experienced assistance marketing your dental practice? We can help. For more than 24+ years Patient News has worked exclusively with more than 7,000 dentists across the U.S. and Canada. Call us now at 1-888-377-2404 or request a callback.