How valuable are patient surveys? Some dentists may think along the lines of David Letterman, who once said, “USA Today has come out with a new survey – apparently three out of every four people make up 75% of the population.” Surveys are certainly of little value when they convey the obvious.
But when dental patient surveys are constructed effectively, they can become great tools for making the patient experience even better. The best surveys are concise—think about yourself and if you are more apt to complete a short or long survey. Also, effective surveys give dental patients the opportunity to suggest what would make the patient experience even better, and it’s from this question that you will learn the most. If patients write a suggestion in a survey, other patients are likely thinking the same thing.
That is why it’s so important to follow up on suggestions and consider how to implement the ideas in your practice. Maybe the suggestions are simple: turn up the heat, put up-to-date magazines in the waiting area, or keep the restroom stocked with extra paper towels. Other suggestions hint at bigger opportunities for making the practice even better: running on time, offering flexible payment options, or explaining treatment in easy-to-understand language.
If you are going to benefit from surveys, it’s critical to commit to learning from what the surveys tell you. Keep in mind that it’s better to get patients’ input now before they become dissatisfied enough to leave the practice, even if it’s something you do not want to hear. And a great way to keep long-term patients is to use the input from patient surveys to make the patient experience even better.