In the first part of this post we outlined a set of general suggestions that should help you optimize the process of receiving feedback from senior patients – regardless of the size of your dental practice. Now we are going to look a bit closer to the main differences between solo dental practitioners and bigger dental offices and propose a more specific approach for each group.
- Private Dentists / Small Dental Practices – Specifics and Tactics
- Big Dental Practices / Dental Clinics – Specifics and Tactics
Private Dentists / Small Dental Practices – Specifics and Tactics
Dental marketing with a scarce staff
If you are an independent dental practitioner and can only afford one dental assistant who also manages your schedule and other administrative tasks, expecting them to also collect and analyze patient feedback (or doing it yourself), will soon prove to be very unrealistic. If you have a designated front desk assistant with a friendly personality and good communication skills, you can train them how to request feedback from elderly patients and assist them during the process.
Later on, however, and as soon as your budget allows it, you could think about hiring a dental marketing assistant as well. Given the size of your practice, they can freely work part-time or several hours per week as per necessity. First, they need to take care of your online presence (social media, dentist directories, dentist rating websites, etc.) and then to create one general feedback form and one especially for elderly patients. If you still don’t have a patient management system to store the answers into each patient’s profile, your marketing person could simply create dossiers and manually add the most important personal details, appointments, and other relevant information.
Give a choice and don’t forget to analyze
Offer your senior patients two types of survey form – paper and online (use a tablet or feedback kiosk, if available). Whether they are digitally capable or not, always be ready to come to the rescue if they choose the second format. Sometimes, apps are not that intuitive and user-friendly to this age group. That’s why you should be.
Together with your marketing assistant, define how often (each month, every two months, etc.) you are going to review and analyze the summarized feedback data, so that it is not something done as an end in itself. No matter how good your dental services may be – there is always room for improvement and aspects you could have missed.
Big Dental Practices / Dental Clinics – Specifics and Tactics
Most larger dental clinics have a significant competitive advantage in terms of human resources, technical and software infrastructure, which allow them to develop more detailed and multi-layered communication strategies tailored especially to seniors.
Focus on good communication
If you own or work in a big dental clinic, chances are that there is an administrative assistant, a patient care manager, and a marketing manager in place – each of which executing particular responsibilities during the entire patient journey. This is a good starting point, and yet there are things to consider and streamline. These three people (or departments) should work together as a well-oiled machine and enroll in regular professional trainings to develop their emotional intelligence and empathy skills. Poor communication with this delicate age group can ruin your efforts to provide good patient experience.
Assuming that your dental practice also disposes of an advanced patient management software, your front desk receptionist can easily create detailed customer profiles for elderly patients. Adding their digital skills level, their preferred appointment reminder method, their birthday, and other specific comments, will not only help your team provide a better service, but will also demonstrate that your dental clinic truly cares about their health and long-term well being.
Easy-to-use feedback solutions
If a senior patient is no stranger to smartphones and tablets, s/he will surely be capable of filling out your in-house online feedback form (whether in the dental office or at home) with little to no guidance. In the opposite case, your patient relations staff will kindly assist them. Depending on the length of your survey and the personal specifics of the elderly person, however, this could take quite some time. That is the reason why more and more dental clinics prefer to invest in interactive feedback kiosks with advanced features and very intuitive interface. They can be smartly integrated with your patient management system so that all survey data is automatically transferred and then analyzed.
What you give is what you get
No matter how big is your dental practice and whether you have a detailed marketing strategy or not, investing the extra time and efforts to get feedback from your elderly patients will definitely pay out. Soliciting their opinion will make them feel respected, valued, and socially engaged. The way we treat older people – in both senses of the verb, shows our attitude towards healthcare and life in general. The more we listen to them, appreciate them, and protect them, the more meaningful our own life will be.
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