Appointment follow-up: Improve your feedback systems for loyal patient relationships

It’s been said,  “…feedback is the breakfast of champions…” For you that translates to the value of honest communication as part of your patient appointment follow-up process.

The challenge is being prepared for what you hear. And using it to improve your patient relationships.

That’s why it’s vital to create a feedback loop with full permission for patient honesty baked in. Your appointment follow-up will be more effective and patient loyalty will improve incrementally.

Here’s why you really want your patients to tell-all

Appointment follow-up can produce benign results if your patients feel unheard. It’s about how well you listen – and giving proof that you are.

The proof and quality of your listening skills is measured by your implementation of relevant feedback. 

Patients will feel the freedom to tell-all when they believe…

  • You’re listening with unbiased intentions
  • You’re prepared to adapt and implement their relevant responses

The space between appointments is the sweet-spot

It’s normal to invest time, attention, and resources in patient acquisition. No doubt, new patients breathe new life into your dental practice.

But once they’ve completed their initial appointment is when your relationship with them gains momentum.

Patient retention relies on robust follow-up. 

Go-the-extra mile in value delivery

Make your patients feel valued…or someone else will. They’re most vulnerable to value-drift between appointments. 

Value-drift happens in “open water” when patients set sail from the safe harbor of your practice. For example, insurance coverage could change, a career transition or lay-off could occur, or there’s the consistent seduction of dental-deal-of-the-month mailers in their mailbox.

  • Personalize your follow-up. Generic, “hey-we-miss-you” content might be well-intentioned but it fails to deepen your patient relationships. Follow-up based on each patient’s unique emotional connection to their dental treatment. Listen well and keep your discoveries in their patient file.
  • Peek into their life. Not in a creepy way. Rather, be curious via the questions you ask about their current and upcoming life events. Begin each appointment with the end-in-mind

This is giving strategic thought to the message you want to deliver as their appointment wraps up. How you close can and will stick with them beyond the appointment. 

  • Use email or provide printed information to enhance post appointment communication. Useful resources, articles, and health reminders keep you and your services front of mind – especially when they’re directly relevant to their most recent procedure or their related question(s).
  • Help patients keep their treatment in focus with ongoing “evergreen” information. Email links to your practice blog posts, publish routine (e.g. monthly) newsletters, and create referral checklists as a courtesy to assist additional future and current caregivers.
  • Follow-up fast especially related to your patient’s questions and concerns. This helps eliminate their worry while enhancing your value to them.

Create and implement a survey strategy

You can only assume how you’re doing…unless you directly ask! Why stay in the dark when you can get valuable feedback through surveys?

A survey strategy reveals that you value feedback. And positive or negative – there’s always something to be gained. 

SolutionReach is a good resource for helping you improve your patient experiences – including surveys.

The relationship you have with your patients is the essence of your practice. Gathering critical feedback from your patients can make the difference between keeping and losing a patient.”

They also offer this “quick tip”:

“When patients complete the survey, follow up! Even if their experience wasn’t great, a provider that cares enough to respond can win more points than the provider that gave a satisfactory in-office experience in the first place.” Source

Speaking of surveys the following resources (in addition to SolutionReach) can help you streamline the process and implement a hassle-free survey strategy.

Champion level service often relies on fearlessly and strategically obtaining feedback. You will improve as you listen and leverage every patient interaction into a long term relationship.

Check out our Net32 Modern Practice Blog for more practice building and dental leadership content.

Dr. Patrick Cassidy

Dr. Patrick Cassidy is a dental graduate of the University of British Columbia, and holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina. He is the founder of Research Triangle Dental and Implant Center in North Carolina where he contributes his 30+ years of dental knowledge. Dr. Cassidy’s innovation and creativity co-founded Net32, Inc., a dental industry leading comparison shopping.

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Dr. Patrick Cassidy is a dental graduate of the University of British Columbia, and holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina. He is the founder of Research Triangle Dental and Implant Center in North Carolina where he contributes his 30+ years of dental knowledge. Dr. Cassidy’s innovation and creativity co-founded Net32, Inc., a dental industry leading comparison shopping.

Last modified: December 9, 2019

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