You, as a dentist, might be doing all you can to ensure that your patients have a great experience every time they visit you for treatment. However, as harsh as it might sound, pleasing everybody isn’t easy. You’re bound to receive some negative feedback and dental complaints from patients who probably weren’t satisfied with their treatment. These patients might escalate the issue by writing a negative review for your practice, which could discourage your prospects.
In most cases, dental complaints are preventable, provided you’re willing to go that extra mile to ensure patient satisfaction.
Here are the most common dental complaints that patients make and how you can resolve them before they escalate.
Complaint 1: The treatment was very expensive.
A lot of patients visit review websites to complain about the high cost of treatment at your dental clinic. Although some of your patients might understand that the great dental treatment they received comes at a price, others might simply believe that you’re minting money by charging way more than what they expected.
Most dentists avoid getting deep into the financial side of things with their patients. However, it’s better to explain the cost of the treatment in detail, to ensure that your patients don’t complain later. For example, if your patient is visiting you for a tooth filling, but you find that there is considerable tooth decay because of which you’ll have to carry out an additional procedure, it’s good to explain the additional cost and the benefit to the patient before you begin the procedure.
Complaint 2: Long waiting time.
Patients come to your practice to quickly get over with whatever has been bothering them. Understandably, they’ll not be pleased if they have to wait for long to get to the chair. If the wait is beyond a few minutes, they may even go on to write a negative review.
You might be a popular dentist in your neighborhood who attends to several patients every day. Since the time spent on treating each patient can vary, some of your patients might have to wait. Avoid this by scheduling your appointments in a way that you get enough buffer time to help you in case somebody’s treatment stretches beyond your expectations. Additionally, proactively inform all your patients that their appointment time is tentative and can vary a little.
Complaint 3: Lack of information.
Among the most common dental complaints is lack of information. If your patients feel that they haven’t received all details of the procedure and what they should expect before, during and after the treatment, they’ll believe that you don’t care enough. Things aggravate when the treatment you carry out fails to deliver the expected results.
You, as a dentist, might be doing everything in your control to ensure that your patient’s treatment goes as planned. However, it might so happen that because of inadequate post-treatment care or any other reason that isn’t in your control, the treatment fails. To stop your patients from writing about their negative experience on a public platform, you should discuss the treatment with them in detail and explain all possible consequences. Moreover, make sure that your patients are well acquainted with all post-treatment care instructions.
Complaint 4: Not listening to patient problems in detail.
You might be able to understand the problem by just listening to a few symptoms of the patient. However, if you don’t listen to your patient completely, they’ll feel that you don’t bother about them.
Patients want to be heard. Although you might have understood the underlying problem by just looking at your patient’s teeth and know the best treatment, you should never stop your patient from explaining all their symptoms first. Just listen to your patient sympathetically and then suggest the procedure that can address the concerns. This way, your patients will believe that you’ve understood them correctly and the suggested treatment will help them get better.
Complaint 5: Inappropriate behavior.
Your patients come to your practice with a problem that might have been bothering them for the last few days or even weeks. Although some of your patients might still be calm and composed, others might be a little irritated. In either case, they expect you and your staff to treat them politely. However, since you and your staff has been handling all types of patients, they might also get a little impatient at times, which is something your patients would find rude.
There are no two ways about it – even in the most stressful of situations, you and your staff must maintain composure and be polite towards your patients. Even if there’s a dissatisfied or angry patient at your clinic, make sure you maintain a polite tone. If their problems are addressed appropriately, they might even write a positive review for your practice online.
Over 90% of dental patients check online reviews of dentists before they book an appointment. It thus becomes important for dentists to offer the best experience to their patients and address all their concerns to make sure that they don’t escalate as negative reviews.
Although you can prevent negative reviews, you cannot avoid them completely. If you’ve received some negative feedback about your dental practice online, here’s how you can convert it into an opportunity to get more patients to your practice.