Patients nowadays are very aware that they have every right to change their dentist if they don’t believe they are getting the standard of service they deserve – which means inter-profession competition has increased significantly. As a result, it is incredibly important for practitioners to be sensitive to the needs and opinions of their patients, to avoid losing business and reduce the risk of complaints.
But not all patients are willing to leave feedback. Admittedly, some are more than happy to make a complaint – or direct an exasperated diatribe at your receptionist – but in most cases, British people don’t like to make a fuss.
Unfortunately, while this may be the easier way out, it isn’t very helpful. Indeed, a patient who is prepared to make their opinions known is far better than one who holds their dissatisfaction back. These are the patients who you will ultimately lose, since their issues will never be addressed.
As such, it’s generally better if feedback, even negative feedback, is out in the open. That way, you can learn from your mistakes and concentrate on improving your service. Indeed, while negative feedback can be demoralising, it can also be a positive learning opportunity – and should always be seen as such.
That isn’t to say that you must feel obliged to tolerate obnoxious comments. A complaint does not have to be insulting or inappropriate and it is usually best to ignore the people who deal with issues in this manner. In fact, it may simply be more worthwhile to ask them to leave. But if a complaint is provided in a polite and reasonable manner, then it is important that you take note and respond appropriately.
The only problem, as we have already suggested, is that many people do not necessarily feel comfortable with leaving negative feedback. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure that your patients understand that you welcome their comments, both negative and positive. You must then provide them with the correct platforms through which they can easily leave feedback. Many people do not like doing this face-to-face, so a different approach should be considered.
One of the most common mediums for review and feedback these days is the internet. More people than ever before place reviews on the web, making it the ideal place for them to do so for your practice. By providing them with an easy to use platform, such as the PatientConnections system from Welltime, your patients will be able to leave vital feedback for you on your own website, allowing you to review and utilise the information as necessary.
Negative feedback can always be a bit daunting, since no one – especially dentists – likes to think that they are not doing a good job. But there is much to be learned by constructive criticism and by giving your patients the opportunity to provide feedback in a number of different ways you can begin to provide a service that is truly exceptional.