By Carl Burroughs, Integrated Dental Marketing

When you really impress a patient you often find out about it as they may have written you a note or sent you some flowers or a bottle of something nice or left you a good feedback. Equally, if someone is really unhappy the chances are you will already be aware of this. But most of your patients are somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, and what this group of people think about the services that you are providing is the true test of how healthy your practice is.

Surveying your patients has always been a great idea, but before digital platforms came along conducting surveys was a cumbersome process. Today however, it is as easy as automating an e-mail to be sent directly to every patient after they have attended an appointment with you.

Creating a patient survey is now easy to organise, but in order for this exercise to give you meaningful data, it needs to be the right survey. I think we have all experienced completing a ‘dumb’ on-line survey where all the questions are weighted to give the answers the company conducting the survey wants to receive. When Bill Gates was busy building Microsoft, he was famous for starting every team meeting by just asking for the bad news and problems, as it was his belief that you only build a world class company by working on the issues and not wallowing in the glory of your successes. Your practice surveys should take from this approach.

Don’t get me wrong, it is fantastic to receive great feedback as it confirms the things you are doing well and allows you to congratulate outstanding staff members. However, it is the negative feedback that you receive which truly allows you to improve the services you provide whilst also enabling you to future proof your businesses.

Gaining meaningful feedback also creates opportunities to expand and adds additional income streams. For example, if 30% of your patients state that they would like weekend appointments, it allows you to expand your hours with the knowledge that there is a demand for these additional hours. A favorable response to a question such as ‘would you like to see us add anti-wrinkle treatments to our suite of services?’, means you can add these services with confidence and they will be successful.

Adding a survey function to your marketing is a simple yet effective way of improving your customer service as the public likes having a way of providing feedback that is easy, discreet and at a time that suits them. Also, no patient will be upset if you ask them for their opinion. They will either delete the e-mail if they don’t have time or don’t want to participate, or will undertake the survey in the same way we all do.

So the key is to have an easy to use platform, which asks meaningful questions, is intuitive and not too long.

The team at IDM have been working with one of the major survey providers to create such a platform. The platform had been developed specifically for the Australian and New Zealand dental sectors with the questions developed by a practice management expert in conjunction with a psychologist. Not only are the core questions developed to give you the information you need, but the platform is intuitive, meaning it will ask the additional questions you might want to know from a particular answer to a question. The IDM survey is also totally customisable allowing you to add specific questions that you want to know the answers to.

The platform allows you to login at will to see the results and the IDM service also comes with the option of having the results analysed by a prominent practice management expert, should you want.

If you would like a free demonstration of the IDM dental survey platform, simply email or call Sonia on 02 9211 1477. You can also visit to know more about the services offered by IDM.

Carl Burroughs
General Manager and Founder, Integrated Dental Marketing

Unit 5, 9 – 13 Underwood Avenue,
Botany NSW 2019 Australia

T: +61 2 9211 1477