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Patients LOVE When We Listen

by adminjay

In February, everything is love-themed, making it a good time to think about how your practice shows love to its patients. Patients deserve love year-round, not just on Valentine’s Day, and that means listening to them to understand what they need when they’re in the office and how they feel about their experience. A dental practice that takes patient feedback to heart will build loyalty and trust among its existing patients and attract more quality new patients.

Think of Existing Patients as Your “Main Squeeze”

The value of an existing patient cannot be overstated. They have already received at least one service from the practice and will keep coming back as long as they stay happy with your practice. Patients don’t want to have to find another dentist. Making existing patients feel special enhances their experience, fosters loyalty, and increases the likelihood that they will refer others to the practice. Even if they do not actively recruit their friends and family members to become patients, their feedback is a valuable tool for attracting new patients. However, getting patients to review the practice requires a little bit of effort.

The practice should have a strategy for soliciting reviews from patients. An obvious one is to ask them directly during their appointments. It is natural and easy for team members to mention leaving a review when they know a patient had a great experience. Patients will often signal their willingness to provide feedback. In these cases, team members should be prepared to give instructions on where they can leave a review, whether that be on Google, Facebook, or another channel.

Reviews will not happen, though, if the team is not trained to ask for them. What will help in this regard is having reminders posted in the office, offering patients a QR code, for example, that links directly to the practice’s preferred review platform. Collateral on desks and countertops in the lobby and the patient rooms are excellent reminders for patients and team members alike that the practice loves to hear what patients have to say. Another great solution is to have software that asks the patient to leave a review directly on platforms like Google or Facebook after their appointment. This will make it extremely easy for the patients to take action and provide their feedback.

Survey Says, “We Love Feedback”

Nothing says “we value your opinion” like a survey. Taking reviews one step further, surveys allow patients to express how they feel about different aspects of their experience and give the practice a template for how to best serve patients going forward. Surveys are excellent for revealing strengths, weaknesses, inconsistencies, and opportunities.

They can be broad to give the practice a general idea of how effectively it is meeting patient needs, and they can also drill down on specific areas that are important to the practice, like wait time or staff friendliness, for example.

Surveys are extremely flexible and highly useful, as long as patients are taking them. Again, this means that the team needs to make patients aware that a survey is available and encourage them to provide their feedback. More surveys mean more reliable data, so the key is to be consistent in asking patients to fill out surveys. The entire team, not just the front desk staff, should be aware that patients have an opportunity to take a survey and know how to tell them where to find it. This requires getting the team’s buy-in as well, explaining to them that it is an opportunity to make things better for everyone. If the whole team believes in the strategy, they are more likely to promote it to patients.

Take Everything to Heart

The point of asking for reviews and surveys, besides promoting the practice, is to learn from them. Having patients fill out surveys that are only going to languish in cyberspace does not make much sense. All of the reviews and surveys patients take the time to write contain valuable information that, if used correctly, will improve the customer service aspect of the practice and enhance the patient experience. The practice must have a plan in place to take advantage of everything these tools have to offer.

This means reading the information submitted and acting on it when appropriate. At the very least, the practice should make a habit of responding to online reviews to let people know they are reading them. The next step would be to analyze the feedback. Then, the practice needs to devise an action plan based on the findings. It is important not to ignore negative results, especially if they show up consistently in a certain part of a survey or several reviews express an unfavorable opinion regarding something specific. These results indicate important areas of improvement that will strengthen the practice and help patients have a more pleasant experience.

Make a Commitment

Patients appreciate it when their dental practice is committed to providing a positive experience. Surveys and reviews tell patients that the practice cares about their true needs and is not simply presuming what might be important to them. Everyone wants to be heard, and a dental practice can help patients feel that way by taking concrete steps to improve. This takes a concerted effort on the part of the practice, but it is a worthwhile pursuit because the end result is patients who are committed to the practice.

Keep the love flowing after Valentine’s Day and for the rest of the year by showing patients that your practice cares. Ask for their opinions, take their feedback to heart, and make a commitment to being a trustworthy healthcare partner. Your patients will appreciate you more and reward you with their loyalty and affection.


With more than a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Jackie Ulasewich-Cullen decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency.

Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns.

She can be reached at (800) 689-6434 or via email at jackie@mydentalagency.com.

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Stockyimages/Shutterstock.com.

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