How to use feedback to grow your practice

This month, Lucie Simic shares why feedback is your greatest ally in empowering your dental practice.

The pursuit of excellence in dental practices isn’t just about perfecting techniques or delivering impeccable patient care. It’s also about fostering a culture of continuous improvement – where feedback provides the basis for growth and innovation.

Whether it’s feedback from your team or from your patients, understanding that failure is feedback and feedback is knowledge empowers dental practices to evolve and excel.

Feedback from your team

Within a dental practice, your team members are not just employees; they are the heartbeat of your operation. Their insights, experiences and perspectives are invaluable and can drive significant improvements. However, the key lies not just in receiving feedback but in creating an environment where feedback is actively encouraged and appreciated.

I listened to Diary of a CEO star Steven Bartlett talking recently about him hiring a ‘head of failure’ in his business and it made me think: this unconventional move epitomises the commitment to embracing failure as a means of growth.

By fostering a culture where it’s okay to fail, if there’s learning attached to it, it encourages team members to step out of their comfort zones, explore new ideas and contribute to the collective learning process.

Moreover, regular feedback sessions, whether formal or informal, provide a platform for team members to voice their concerns, share their observations and offer suggestions for improvement. It not only promotes transparency but also cultivates a sense of ownership and accountability among the team.

I always recommend regular ‘growth chats’ for practice managers and their teams, making sure that there are regular touch points to listen to ideas and understand what could make the team and individuals more motivated at work.

Feedback from your patients

Every interaction with a patient is an opportunity to not only deliver exceptional care but also to gain valuable insights into their experiences and expectations. Encouraging patients to provide feedback – whether through surveys, reviews or direct communication – demonstrates a commitment to their wellbeing and satisfaction.

Positive feedback serves as validation, reaffirming the practice’s strengths and areas of excellence. On the other hand, negative feedback, far from being discouraging, presents a unique opportunity for growth and improvement.

Catching this feedback early is vital, and often leads to reduced complaints or negative niggles because the patient feels heard and hopefully understood. It is important to recognise that each critique, complaint or suggestion from a patient is a valuable piece of information that can inform practice protocols, enhance service delivery and ultimately elevate the patient experience.

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