“I wasn’t told the exact procedure! I didn’t receive the treatment I was promised! I had to wait so long to get the appointment!” Etc. etc.
If you are a dental professional; there have been several times when you had to deal with patients whining and complaining about your services and treatment. Patient complaints are something that is quite unavoidable. You as a professional have two ways to tackle them- take them personally and offensively or take them as an opportunity to improve and grow. Logic would suggest you do the latter.
Here we have clubbed a few ways to use patient complaints relevantly to grow your dental practice:
A] Addressing patient complaints helps you earn loyalty
Usually, when someone complains about something we just believe it to be venting and try to avoid further discussion about it. However, as a healthcare provider, when a patient complains to you, know that they are trying to get a solution and not just vent.
Dealing with a negative review about you, your practice and your services might not be the easiest task. You will definitely have a strong urge to end that conversation as soon as possible. This, however, is not the right way to deal with complaints.
Addressing complaints is a sign of respect toward your patient. Since the dental business is already seasonal, it is not a good idea to upset the existing patients. If they feel their complaint is not being paid heed to, they might opt to make their next appointment elsewhere, which hurts practice holistically.
Suppress your temptation to end the conversation and try to get as much information as possible. Understand and empathize with the patient; thank them for letting you know and assure them you will look into the matter and make amends.
This shows you are truly willing to give them exceptional treatment. Your conduct will in turn get you loyalty and retain your patients.
B] Offer dental membership programs to pacify
Memberships or subscriptions are running wild in society today. The convenience, transparency and ease of budgeting that comes with memberships are alluring to many consumers. Dental memberships plans have been around for quite a while but they are more in demand today since they provide a meaningful route to creating an increased loyal customer base and generating high-value, recurring revenue. A tactic that dentists are employing today is offering dental membership programs to complaining patients and ensuring them a better experience. This not only serves as an incentive to the patients but promotes your service better. Since memberships imply patients making recurring payments, they are more engaged, loyal, and likely to seek treatment from you.
Maintaining records of memberships can get quite tedious for dentists. Fret not, software can streamline your practice’s membership plan workflow and allow you to add new members, edit member accounts, verify member eligibility, and so on.
C] Your systems will get a performance boost
Knowing the issues in your system can help you fix them for the better. Once you receive a complaint from your patient, you can make it a practice to jot them down and discuss them in team meetings. You can collectively come up with various solutions and adopt the best. Once you know your shortcomings, you can improve your systems and practice. Things that you weren’t aware of and hindered you from meeting your full potential will no longer pull you back. This will get you and your team closer to your goals.
D] Increase your referrals
When you address the concerns of your patient and make the necessary positive changes; patients will notice. They will recognize the modifications and cherish the experience derived from your service. Such patients are likely to refer you to their relatives, close friends and family, which in turn, will increase the patient influx; i.e. You’ll see more new patients come through your doors.
The exact opposite can happen if you choose to ignore patient complaints. They will most likely end up frustrated, not feel respected, and might be tempted to negatively publicize you. You will not only end up losing one dissatisfied patient but also lose other potential patients.
E] Give out feedback forms
Seeking complaints might sound like a bad idea but it truly is something that can help you grow. Knowing your limitations is the way to succeed. Send out surveys to your patients. Utilize the feedback to enhance your practice. Enquire about their experiences and take recommendations. The surveys are easy to set up and will get you a plethora of information that will help you grow your practice.
It is never a good idea to take complaints to heart. People don’t complain to offend you; they complain to receive better. Most dental professionals prioritize their patient’s satisfaction and when they receive complaints; they categorize them as criticisms and feel disappointed. This is where most go wrong; instead of looking at it as an opportunity to improve, they take it as a failure. No practice is perfect; but it can be made so by taking criticisms positively, meeting the needs of patients, and ultimately growing!