Complaints are a fact of life for dental services. The high stakes, complexity and variability along with patient expectations almost certainly guarantee it.
But how should we deal with complaints?
Do we take the ostrich approach and put our head in the sand hoping the complaint will go away?
Do we tackle the complaint head on?
Do we pass the buck for someone else to deal with it?
Or should we love complaints and welcome them?
Are a form of engagement - Unhappy patients will usually let others know of their bad experience.
Are an opportunity to create your biggest fans - The first step towards a satisfied customer is engagement, even if it’s negative.
Expose blind spots in the quality of your service - Patients will pick up problems that you may not have been aware of.
Are diagnostic - It’s important to dig deep with every complaint. You may find this quite confronting, but it is worthwhile.
Create a feedback loop - If you continue to receive the same complaint, then it’s time to look at previous corrective measures.
Are an opportunity for improvement - Even the best service in the world still has room for improvement.
Teach you how to make a complaint - Being on the receiving end of complaints is an invaluable lesson.
Are therapeutic for patients - The simple act of acknowledging a complaint can make a patient feel heard and valued.
Are therapeutic for employees - Well-handled complaints can be used as a team-building exercise.
Regardless of whether it is positive or negative feedback, patients need to feel like they are being heard and listened to. If you listen and deal with their feedback in a timely manner, they are likely to be more satisfied.
Happy and content patients will help to create happy and content staff, ensuring a good working environment which can lead to increased productivity and improved efficiency.