Best Practices for Collecting and Using Patient Feedback

June 22, 2021
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Best Practices for Collecting and Using Patient Feedback

6.22.2021

Feedback is a gift, and it’s important to allow your organization to be open to that gift. 

Here are 3 steps dental practices can take to get the most of patient feedback:  

Step #1: Determine the Method of Collecting Feedback

With survey and review fatigue on the rise, it’s important to consider how you will go about asking for patient feedback. You want to inspire patients to respond without making them feel forced into it. You also need to make it convenient for them to respond and allow them to provide feedback shortly after their visit. 

The most common methods used in dental organizations today are text and email:

Text: A text message request can inspire a quick response, but timing is important. Try to send it soon enough after the appointment to get the patient’s timely response, but be sure not to send it while they’re still in the chair for their appointment. 

Email: Email may be practical as well, but may not reach the patient immediately following an appointment. Emails also allow for a longer message to be delivered to the patient.

Once you’ve chosen the method for collecting feedback, determine which review platforms are most impactful for your organization. 

You may find that collecting the feedback for internal purposes is most important while you solidify your patient experience, or you may decide that your marketing strategy could benefit from a Google or Facebook review. There are several vendors that will vary the review request by platform or allow the patient to choose where they’d like to leave a review.

Step #2: Decide What to Ask and How Often to Ask for It

To increase your response rate, it’s important to make the request or survey as easy and quick as possible. Research shows that more than 3 questions can often prevent someone from responding. Also, it’s important to limit the number of steps involved. If a patient has to click ‘next’, they may simply give up or get distracted. 

At Spark, we’ve seen great success in organizations that use the Net Promoter Score to request feedback. It’s one simple question to send to patients, “How likely are you to recommend the dental practice?” This one survey response can provide a great starting point for evaluating your patient experience. 

(We have a video discussing patient retention and Net Promoter Score - click to watch)

Next, consider if you’d like to ask for feedback after each patient visit, once per month, once every 6 months, etc. Be mindful of the frequency of your requests to ensure you’re not burning out your patients by asking for feedback too often. 

Also, don’t attempt to bribe your patient into responding or try to force a response. Patients know a bribe when they see it, and whatever you do – don’t ask them for a glowing review or a high rating. It feels contrived, pushy, and off-putting. Statistics show that this kind of request is likely to deter someone from responding. Instead, genuinely share with your patients that you’d like their honest opinion on their experience. Keep your request simple and straightforward.

Step #3: Do Something With the Results

So many companies collect feedback and do very little with the results. Be sure to take meaningful action with the feedback you receive. They say there’s an ounce of truth in everything, so look for what truth you can find in each patient’s response. Use the responses to better your organization and to recognize those on your team who are providing a great patient experience. 

When you’re thoughtful about how and when you ask for feedback and you incorporate it into your practice in a meaningful way, you will begin to see greater response rates and an improvement in all areas of business.

As Stephen Covey has said, “It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it and appropriately act on it.”

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Spark is a curated private group of owners and leaders of group dental practices, who come together four times a year to collaborate in a safe, inspiring, and humbling way. Spark is an invitation-only group specifically tailored to help you grow your small to mid-sized dental groups or DSOs by a factor of 10x.

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