Managing Patient Complaints
May 28, 2015
No matter how good of a dentist you are, when providing services, you most likely will have to deal with some patient complaints. Managing these complaints intelligently, efficiently, promptly, and pleasantly can turn a possible catastrophe into a solidly loyal patient. Here are a few ideas to help manage these complaints effectively:
Never take it personally when a patient raises their voice to you for something you both know is not your fault. The patient is frustrated, disappointed, and angry. If you don’t take it personally, you can control your own attitude, thus, easing the situation.
Don’t ignore complaints, even when they are indirect and non-confrontational. When there is basis for the complaint, it reveals a flaw in your business, you may not have known existed. When this is the case, acknowledge such to your patient.
Deal the same way with phone complaints, emails, letters, and face-to-face confrontations. They are all important clues to how your business is doing.
Always try to offer something to a dissatisfied patient (if there is any basis to the complaint). Refunds or possibly a discount on an additional service will renew the patient’s trust in you.
When nothing you do calms your patient, ask what they would do in your situation. Does the patient have a better solution? Then explain why that would/would not be feasible, or modify it to a point where both you and the patient feel it is fair. Thanking the patient for the input will make them feel important and you will win their respect and continued support.
Always remember that you won’t have a business if you cannot keep your patients. They may not always be right, but they are always entitled to courteous treatment, whether asking a question, or lodging a complaint.
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