How satisfied are your patients with the experience they have when they visit your office? As a dental office consultant, we regularly ask our clients this question during the initial meeting. Typically, the answer is "I do not know," or "I'm not sure." That is a problem.
Patient satisfaction is important
All dentists should know if their patients are satisfied and if not, why. This information is critical because it is far easier to retain patients and more cost-effective than needing to continually recruit new ones. By making patient satisfaction a priority, dentists can increase the profitability of their practice without making significant investments in marketing.
How satisfied are they?
Hiring a dental office consultant to measure patient satisfaction is an excellent place to begin. By conducting surveys and asking the right questions, we can find out things like:
- Do patients enjoy visiting the office?
- Do they feel comfortable and welcome?
- Can they get an appointment when they need one? If not, what times would they like to come in?
- Are the billing policies easy to understand?
- Is the staff friendly and helpful?
- Would they refer a friend?
- What would they like to see improved?
- Are there any other dental services they are interested in?
Once this data has been gathered, steps can be taken to increase patient satisfaction and improve operations.
It can be difficult for the internal office staff to ask these questions and to analyze the answers. People who are working in that situation every day are more likely to be biased. This can be detrimental when trying to interpret things in an attempt to find ways to improve operations. As an outside party, we bring a fresh perspective to the table and can make useful recommendations after reviewing what patients have to say.
When we analyze the answers to patient surveys, we regularly find ways to improve operations and customer service. Many dentists are surprised to see that how patients feel about a particular practice has a lot to do with the office staff and overall environment of the office, far beyond the services provided in the dental chair.
For example, patients who find that they cannot schedule an appointment easily may be likely to come in less frequently or find a new dentist altogether. Patients who find the billing process to be confusing may have less trust in the practice, even if the actual statement numbers are correct.
Simultaneously, patients may be less than completely satisfied because they feel that the technology being used in the office is outdated. Whatever the patient concerns are, we will identify them and then provide options for how to address them.
Investing in patient satisfaction pays off
We know that keeping patients happy can pay dividends. It increases the likelihood that they will visit on a regular basis to have their teeth cleaned and examined. It also raises the possibility that they will refer friends and family members. This can increase the number of patients visiting the office and also increase profitability because patients who visit through this means do not have a marketing cost attached to them.
Speak with a dental office consultant today
If you are a dentist or office manager, we invite you to contact us to learn more about how we can assess patient satisfaction and what can be done to improve yours.
Call (888) 811-1408 today to reach Nickerson Consulting.