Why You Should Survey Your Patients

One trait all dentists share is we have an intense concern for being good to our patients. We want to provide a great experience for them. The problem is we don’t always have a good understanding of what patients want or what their perspective on what a better experience is. Surveying your patients gives you an opportunity to take a look at your practice through their eyes. You see what their perceptions are. You can find out what they value most.

There are two basic ways to have a patient fill out a survey:
• Offer a web link that patients can fill out at their leisure. This can be printed on their next appointment cards or emailed directly.
• Provide computers terminals in the reception area so that patients can take a few minutes and fill out a survey before they leave.

Some ways to create an effective survey:
• Don’t lead the questions. You want neutral questions so you have quality data. And that quality data is, of course, the end result of any good survey.
• Make sure that your survey is brief. Identify the issues and concerns that are most specific and important to your practice.
• Take careful notice about the number of responses you receive. If you lack sufficient responses, your results may not be valid, meaningful or accurate.
• Offer incentives such as small discounts or a free toothbrush. This makes it worthwhile for people to spend their valuable time.
• Remember to get good quality results it needs to be a good sampling of your entire practice. If you do not offer incentives, the two types of people most likely to fill out a survey are going to be people who are extremely unhappy or people who are related to/friendly with the staff.

Bottom Line: 
Having patients fill out surveys tells them that you really do care and that you really want to know. It is a valuable statement about what you’re trying to accomplish with your practice and the service level that you’re trying to achieve. Most of all the survey results help you make the adjustments necessary to improve your customer satisfaction and therefore your bottom line.