One thing every dentist will do well to remember is that dental patients are customers. As such, they have certain needs that extend beyond the treatment you provide to them. As customers, patients want to be treated to positive experiences, and they want to feel like any complaints or issues they have are being addressed. Most times, these complaints are not because patients are irritable or being unreasonable, so it can greatly benefit a dental business if they are heard and resolved, whenever possible. Most importantly, they should never be ignored for three very important reasons.
#1: Loss of Business
Most patients do not make complaints to a dentist because they want to stop being treated by anyone at the practice. They generally make complaints because they want to stay, at least under the condition that their issues are heard and promptly addressed. If they are not, there is a strong potential that the patient will seek treatment elsewhere.
#2: Word of Mouth Spreads
The risk of lost business can multiply quickly with even one disgruntled patient. One patient who leaves your practice is bound to tell family and friends of their bad experience at your dental office. Worse, they can take to the internet to leave a bad review on social media pages and other business-related websites. Surveys show that customers are more than 21 percent more likely to leave a negative review than a positive review, so give patients every reason to say something positive about your business.
#3 Stunted Business Growth
Referrals continue to be a large source of growth and income in the medical industry, and dental offices are no exception. However, every patient that leaves your clinic in a disgruntled state is one less patient who will provide valuable referrals that can help your business grow. Don’t stunt the growth of your base of patients by failing to make every effort to make and keep your patients happy.
The Most Common Dental Patient Issues
What are the most common issues and complaints made by dental patients? These are some of the most well documented by dentists:
- Expensive treatment
- Lack of listening or communication
- Long wait times before treatment
- Lack of information about appointments, treatment, etc.
- Discomfort or anxiety during treatment
Work to Resolve as Many Issues as Possible
While it’s important to listen and address patient complaints, not every problem can be easily solved. However, patients often recognize effort, and many times simply acknowledging the problem and letting patients know they are being heard is enough to keep patients happy with the service you are providing.
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