The new year brings a lot more than a new calendar. It is a time of resolutions for the future and taking stock of the past. It’s a good time for dental practices to go over the past year and see areas you can improve. Most practice management software products will give you the numbers you need – patient numbers, financials and so on. But some things can’t be quantified so easily. How do you measure patient satisfaction or employee morale?
Reviews Versus Feedback
Numbers can only tell you so much and sometimes you need a more in-depth look into your practice. Wait, isn’t that what reviews are for? Most practice owners solicit and collect reviews for the clinic. But reviews serve a different purpose. They are badges that you can display to new patients on social media and other platforms. Positive reviews show that you are a trustworthy practice and help to attract clients.
The end of the year is traditionally the time for evaluations and making improvements. You should actively solicit feedback from your dental patients in the form of surveys. Surveys can help you identify areas of improvement or get feedback on recent changes you’ve implemented. You can also survey your dental team to identify potential problems in the workplace. Many dental clinics work very hard to improve on the previous year’s performance. But how do you tell if all that hard work is paying off? The answer is simple – ask your clients!
Create Your Survey
The first thing you need to do is draw up a survey with the questions that you would like answers for. You are asking your clients to take some time out of their busy schedule – especially during the holidays – to complete your survey. So respect their time and keep the questions short and simple. Restrict the survey to no more than 10 or 12 questions.
What questions should you include in your survey? It depends on what kind of answers you’re looking for. Do you want general feedback on the client experience in the clinic? Then include a few questions on each aspect like billing, the atmosphere of the clinic etc. If you have made recent improvements or changes, you might want to focus your questions there. The feedback will tell you if you’re on the right track or not.
Make It As Easy As Possible to Complete
Some people prefer to answer surveys via email while others like pen and paper. Provide multiple options to take the survey to make it as easy as possible. If you’re sending out postcards, add a link to the online survey. Include instructions for printing out the survey and mailing it back to you in the email or online newsletter. This way, everyone gets to choose the option that’s best for them.
Anonymity and Privacy
Assure your clients that the responses to the surveys will be kept anonymous. Almost everyone is concerned about privacy and data security these days. You’re less likely to get honest feedback if the patient knows their name will be attached to the survey. You should never collect data if you don’t have adequate security to protect it. It might be a good idea to after a few weeks or months.
Surveying your patients can throw up a few surprises. You might think your billing department is top-notch but your patients may not always agree. Sometimes you might dismiss an issue as trivial or unimportant. Unfortunately customers may not perceive it the same way. Getting feedback from your patients can uncover insights that will change your practice for the better. So don’t hesitate to ask!