Top 5 reasons why dentists should measure patient satisfaction

March 21, 2012

Many dental practices often wonder why some patients leave and never come back. At a time when savvy consumers expect more out of the services they receive, relying on the gut feeling that patients are happy is no longer enough to ensure the success of a practice, no matter its size. Measuring patient satisfaction in a more systematic way offers many benefits. 1. Patient feedback tells you what’s not working.

Many dental practices often wonder why some patients leave and never come back. At a time when savvy consumers expect more out of the services they receive, relying on the gut feeling that patients are happy is no longer enough to ensure the success of a practice, no matter its size. Measuring patient satisfaction in a more systematic way offers many benefits.

1. Patient feedback tells you what’s not working.

If you don’t know what’s wrong, you can’t fix it! Giving patients an easy channel to provide feedback anonymously not only demonstrates willingness to proactively listen, but also offers patients the opportunity to identify immediate areas of improvements. This could be as simple as updating the selection of magazines in the waiting room, or as complex as addressing recurring staff issues.

2. Patient feedback helps rally your practice staff.

Every team member brings value to how patients ultimately feel about their experience. Sharing patient praise during weekly meetings or morning huddles motivates staff to take pride in delivering extraordinary care and service, while constructive feedback helps make them more accountable and nip unwanted trends in the bud. Patient satisfaction scores can inform staff bonus structures, and set a positive tone in engaging the whole practice in a continuous quality improvement culture.
   
3. Patient feedback enhances your marketing efforts.

Delighting patients ensures the level of retention and loyalty that eventually leads to word-of-mouth marketing and new patient referrals. Knowing what those specific strengths are from a patient’s perspective through ongoing feedback can help optimize marketing messages and target   audiences. Finding the right words to interest prospective patients in advertising campaigns helps maximize marketing investment.

4. Patient feedback helps benchmark your practice.

By monitoring patient satisfaction scores over time, a practice can compare current and past performance. These scores take on a whole new meaning when compared with other practices in the market. External quantitative and qualitative benchmarks now exist to help dentists put their own scores into perspective and see how patients rate the experience at their practice relative to other practitioners.

5. Patient feedback enhances your practice’s bottom line.

Measuring patient satisfaction ultimately translates into long-term financial returns. Keeping a finger on the pulse of what patients think in real time enables practices to implement immediate change strategies that will ensure a recurring revenue stream from existing patients and create new patient opportunities.