No matter how fantastic you and your team are, you will occasionally have a patient complain about something. When this happens, you and your team may feel discouraged, frustrated, or even annoyed, depending on the specific complaint and how it was shared. It can be easy to brush the complaint aside and tell yourself that the patient was just having a bad day. However, changing the way you think about patient complaints can be highly beneficial to your business.
Patient complaints may involve anything from office décor or other patients to the time, cost, or outcome of a treatment. Even concerns that feel trivial or unfair to you should be handled with respect and appreciation. Like any consumer, your patient wants to feel like you care about their experience and their feelings. A complaint is an opportunity for you to win back a patient’s trust.
If you thank your patient for bringing their concerns to you, commit to taking action to correct the situation, and follow through on your commitment, you will earn loyalty from that patient. This loyalty can translate into fewer rescheduled or cancelled appointments, increased case acceptance, and even referrals to friends, family, and social media connections. Over time, handing one complaint as an opportunity to improve can lead to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in revenue.
However, if patients leave your office feeling that their concerns are unimportant to you, they will likely look elsewhere for dental care in the future. Unhappy patients do not stay with your practice. They do not refer others to you. They may even tell others about their unpleasant experience with your office, which can cost you potential patients and revenue.
Every patient complaint you receive is a gift. Your team or practice may have a weakness that you were unaware was an issue. If one patient voices a complaint, it is likely that others have noticed the problem as well. Consider asking patients for feedback after a visit. Let them know proactively that you appreciate their input and are ready and willing to provide the best experience possible. When your patients feel valued, they will be more loyal to you, your team, and your practice.