Last week, we discussed the pros and cons of conducting patient surveys. Although Modern Dental Practice Marketing primarily focuses on marketing through blogs, websites, social media, and newsletters, we’re happy to offer you a 10-step plan to help your team manage a dental patient survey.
Step 1: Decide upon your survey’s theme
Your survey should be geared to a specific topic so you can target improvements to a specific area or service of your dental practice. For example, if you want to discern whether your front office staff is acting professionally, you might want to tailor your survey to patient service oriented questions.
Step 2: Ask questions that illicit useful feedback
Ideally, the answers in a survey should provide as much information as possible in a concise manner. Avoid open-ended questions and simple yes or no answers. Instead employ a scale for each question.
Step 3: Determine how you will conduct your survey
Will you use an Internet service, hand out survey forms to patients in person, or use both of these methods? If you decide to use both methods, you may have more patient feedback.
Step 4: Decide if you need to screen the survey’s audience
Depending on the purpose of your survey, you may need to screen who participates. For example, let’s assume that you’re a general dentist who also provides cosmetic dental procedures. More than likely, a 10 year old’s opinion of porcelain veneers won’t matter much to you.
Step 5: Inform respondents of how long the survey should take
Time is valuable. As a courtesy to your patients, let them know roughly how long the survey should take. Extending this gesture of respect for their time, might secure more responses.
Step 6: Keep it short
If you have tailored your survey to a specific topic, you really don’t need more than five questions. The longer the survey, the less likely you are to receive thoughtful responses.
Step 7: Proofread your survey
Make sure your survey contains language that is direct and easy to understand. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes as well.
Step 8: Take the survey yourself
Set aside a block of time for you and your dental practice staff to take the survey before you send it to your patients. Use employee feedback to improve the appearance and effectiveness of your survey.
Step 9: Make sure your survey yields usable data
If you use an online service such as Demandforce to manage your survey, you will have access to data. However, if your questions are confusing or contradictory, you may receive skewed survey results. Your goal is to ensure that collected data is interpretable.
Step 10: Use survey data
If you let your patient survey data collect dust, you have wasted your time, your employees’ time, and your patients’ time. Consider patient surveys as a dental checkup. You want to gauge where and how you need to improve. For example, if your survey indicates a trend in lackluster patient service, you may want to refresh patient service procedures for your employees.