Hazel Adams highlights the benefits of requesting feedback.
Whether positive or negative, you should welcome feedback at your practice. It highlights what the patient feels satisfied and what is working well. It also shows what aspects could you can improved. Someone could complain about any member of the dental team.
Therefore, it is important that feedback is requested in relation to the whole patient experience from start to end.
When a dentist receives feedback from patients confirming they are happy with the treatment/service provided, this is a great confidence booster and motivator. The dental team will also feel respected and valued knowing their roles are being carried out to a good standard.
If happy, the patient is likely to share their experience with family and friends. They will also make recommendations, which is great for the reputation of the practice.
In the event that negative feedback is received, this should be looked at constructively and not taken personally. Should the same issue keep arising, this is an indication that immediate improvements need to be made to a procedure or process to prevent the same situation from arising in the future.
As the first point of contact for most practices, whether by phone or face to face, the receptionist has a crucial part to play. Ensure that the patient receives a warm welcome, provide them with useful and relevant information and also build good working relationships.
In the surgery
Once inside the surgery the patient should feel welcomed, comfortable and relaxed. As the treating dentist, take the time to listen to the patient and what they are requesting, make them feel as if they have been heard and you understand their concerns.
Ensure that the treatment provided is of a high standard. If the patient requires additional work, make them aware of this as soon as possible. When you have completed the treatment, ask the patient how they feel about it before they leave the practice. This then gives you the opportunity to address any concerns raised immediately.
Following these steps will ensure that when you request feedback it will result in a positive response.
Requesting formal feedback
In the absence of patient feedback, it is difficult for you as a practice to effectively monitor the service that you are providing.
You should request feedback at all stages of the patient experience:
- First contact – reception
- Treatment – dental professional and dental nurse
- Following treatment – practice manager/admin.
Create a feedback form to cover all stages of the patient journey. Ensure that you request feedback on a continuous basis for consistency. Keep a log of all feedback, what you have done well and any improvements made to your process and procedures. If possible, share information with your patients to show that you have acted on their feedback.
Ensure that you share feedback with your team. Involve them in making any changes necessary to improve the patient experience.