- Chris Ciardello
The Power of Reviews
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
When was the last time you looked at the reviews your office receives? Have you ever looked at the reviews posted on other offices in your area? Of the thousands of reviews I have read on dental offices there is a common theme. Patients talk about how they felt in your office and how they were treated. They never talk about the quality or precision of the crown prep, or that their root canal was perfectly prepped to the apex. Of course they do talk about how much they love the final product, but they brag more about how the staff treated them during their appointment.
Maya Angelou said I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Above all things, customer service should always be at the forefront of your practice. Everywhere you look there are dental practices almost on every corner and new practices are opening their doors everyday. All things equal, the only way patients can determine the difference between your practice and the one down the street is by your customer service.
It starts with the phone call: Does your team identify themselves? Do they speak clearly? Are they warm, friendly and start the dialogue of the call? Does your team accurately determine the patient’s chief complaint? When I answer the phone I say “Thank you for calling , this is Chris how may I help you?” It is simple, identifies who I am and starts the dialogue by asking how I can help them. If I were to answer the phone with a simple “Hello” then the patient would have a handful of questions for me to ensure they are calling the right place. The offices with the best customer service are able to anticipate patient needs and address possible questions they will have preemptively.
Once the patient arrives for their appointment, how are they greeted? Do you offer coffee, tea or water? How long do they have to wait to been seen by the clinical team? Does the clinical team walk up to the patient and greet them by their first name? Is your office clean and tidy, or cluttered and messy? These are all factors that go through a patient’s minds and they will talk about these observations with the people they know. Often times having these conversations online.
Always greet your patients with a warm and friendly hello, let them know that you have them checked in and that the clinical team will be right with them. If your clinical team is running behind, let that patient know. If possible call them before arriving to your office to give them the opportunity to run a couple errands before coming in for their appointment. The longer you let patients wait in your lobby and you don’t inform them of any delays in your schedule, the hotter their temper will get increasing your chances of receiving a bad review.
Periodically, you will receive a bad review (we all have because we are all human and no one is perfect). How you handle these bad reviews will speak volumes to the validity of them. The best action you can take is to apologize to the patient that they had a subpar experience in your office and ask them to call you so they can make the situation right for them. Your patients and potential patients will see your compassion and are more forgiving of unfavorable reviews.
The manner of handling patient balances can make a big difference as well. People appreciate when offices are upfront with the potential costs that will be incurred during their visits. Something that really sticks a thorn in their side is when they receive a bill on work that was performed over a year ago. Patients have a hard time understanding why it takes so long to receive a bill a year later. Once all claims have been paid, we need to inform the patient of their balance as soon as possible. If you wait to inform them at their next visit, you risk that the patient will have to cancel or reschedule that appointment not only delaying payment but also delaying when the patient first hears about this pending balance.
Reviews are a powerful tool that should be monitored and leveraged in your practice. Always ask your patients for reviews, especially the patients that tell you they had a good experience in your office. Do everything you can to ensure your patients receive the exceptional customer service you want your team to give. I like to follow the “Mother Rule”- treat every patient the way you would want your mother to be treated.