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Grow your Dental Practice Through Feedback

February 24, 2022   |   WorkingFeedback

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With the advent of modern dentistry and significantly fewer NHS practices, private dentists now have to work much harder to attract and retain patients. Happy patients lead to referrals and more treatments.

Patient feedback and online reviews can be particularly helpful when people are looking for a service whose quality they may find hard to assess before it has been experienced. We have all grown to trust feedback through early innovators such as eBay, and impartial reviews are an important source of information when it comes to choosing a dentist.

The regulatory side of running a practice is also dependent on patient feedback, where the CQC and NHS England require this for compliance purposes.

How are you collecting feedback?

There are now multiple ways of collecting feedback and this is where technology has helped to make the process less time-consuming. Although, it’s surprising how many patients still put pen to paper.

Whatever the method, we always recommend that you take the initiative when it comes to collecting feedback by being proactive rather than waiting for patients to feed back to you.

Here are a number of methods you could be using:

  • An email feedback system
  • A feedback link added to your email signature
  • An SMS text messaging service (very efficient for the Friends and Family Test (FFT))
  • A feedback form created as a page on your website.

At Working Feedback, we’re seeing quite a shift in how effective the email and text methods are in generating responses; a practice using our service saw a 42% response rate, which is phenomenal.

Let’s not forget, going to a dentist is a big deal for many patients; but nervousness can be alleviated by patient feedback as well as promote trust and the benefits of regular visits

How do you handle the responses?

Most practices place the emphasis on responding to complaints or constructive criticism and ignoring the good stuff that comes in; I think it’s very important to reply to all feedback and wherever possible, to make sure that patients get to see your responses.

If a patient makes a valid suggestion through their feedback, in that something could have been done better, the practice should always tackle this head-on and say, for example, ‘Okay, you’re right, we don’t do this as well as we should and as a result of your feedback we’ve done this…’. When the process is handled properly, something positive will always come from a negative.

Modern dentistry is all about transparency and let’s face it, patients nowadays are more savvy when choosing a practice and will inevitably go online. If you saw a flawless five star rating for one practice and then another with a five star rating, but this time with the trail on how they achieved it, which one would you choose?

What’s in it for your patients?

Feeling valued as a patient is a huge motivator for loyalty. If a practice has the confidence to ask their patients what they think, then demonstrate that they’ve listened and acted, this helps build genuine trust and turns patients into advocates. And who doesn’t like boasting a little to friends about how good their dentist is!

Customer Success for you and your practice

The benefits of patient feedback, particularly when collected through a third party, are now very tangible. Understanding what your patients think is an essential element in the planning and growth of your practice.

Additionally, feedback can be used to help with the following:

  • Attracting new patients
  • Increasing patient retention
  • Unique content on Google and social media
  • Evidence for CQC compliance and NHS Choices/ FFT
  • Regular activity on your website
  • Helping you to run your practice more efficiently

Let’s not forget, going to a dentist is a big deal for many patients; but nervousness can be alleviated by patient feedback as well as promote trust and the benefits of regular visits.

The challenge is to make sure that your practice has the right tools and resources to use it to its full potential.

What if your feedback scores are not that high?

We’ve found that when lower feedback scores come in, the majority focus on the customer service areas such as answering the telephone or booking appointments. Feedback like this is invaluable as it gives the practice an opportunity to address the issue and, more importantly, highlight what they’ve done as a result. Of course, consistent poor feedback scores could be the early warning signs to a much bigger problem which may require specialist help, but wouldn’t you rather have a process in place for collecting regular patient feedback than being blissfully unaware?